One Week!

In one week, we will have Simon with us!!! I can’t believe it’s finally here. My last day of work for a while was a great day. I have really been blessed with a great group of co-workers. They sent me off with a generous gift, lunch at Pizza.Luce, some hugs, and ringing a cow bell.

I’m too excited to sleep. We are nearly finished packing, minus the shipment of diapers and other baby items arriving from Am.azon tomorrow. Nothing like the last minute 🙂 Oh, and I still haven’t packed a thing for Eze. Oopie.

1.5 days until we fly out!!!

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Travel Confirmation!

Today we got the official confirmation from our agency that we will meet Simon on Friday, October 5 at 3:00 pm. We can’t wait to hold him and touch him and kiss him! We fly out this Sunday morning, and arrive back home the next Sunday afternoon.

The only thing I was a little sad for our trip about was missing watching some Packers’ games while we are gone. After last night’s fiasco, I’m not as sad about that anymore. I’ll call it my boycott on the NFL.

When you think of it, please be praying for Ezekiel while we are gone. He is anxious about it, and has brought it up with us a lot over this past weekend and this week. We’re trying to do our best to set him up for success – describing how Nana and Bompa will drive him to school, he’ll do everything the same there, and then Nana will bring him back to their house after each school day is done. Yesterday, I was wishing that there was a way we could bring him with us, but financially and logistically, it just won’t work.

I can’t wait to be back home and start settling into our new normal!

 

Prep Work

This weekend, we are getting everything ready to bring Simon home. I spent a little time packing, we all spent some time cleaning, I cut Mr Gus’s hair, Dave worked on the dresser we found for Simon’s room, I cooked and froze a huge batch of jook (Korean rice porridge), and then Dave spent time shaving off his beard. It makes me giggle every time he shaves his beard off. Remember the Mother’s Day Moustache he gifted me with? This time, I made a collage of each step. In the words of our friend Aaron, “his laugh ‘stache is my fave”. It makes me laugh to kiss him – I told him it feels a little bit like I’m kissing a ten-year old when I kiss him now.

The many faces of Baby Face Dave

Jook!

Gus giving me the cold shoulder during his haircut today.

A bonus pic of Eze in his new boots… er, Bompa’s hunting boots.

 

Korea or Bust!!

Surprise of all surprises, we got our travel call today!!! Dave got the call, and then shared the happy news with me…

This morning we decided to keep Ezekiel home from school, since he had a dry, hacky cough. He didn’t have a temp. I went off to work, and Dave brought him out to rest at my parents’ house while Dave built raised garden beds for them. Mid-morning, I got a call from Dave. My heart nearly burst out of my chest when I saw his number. He was just calling to tell me that Ezekiel was not at all sick, and that he would be bringing him to school at lunchtime.

My heartbeat returned to normal, and I continued on with my work day (which, to be honest, has been distracted for the past few days. Thank God for an understanding boss). I ate lunch with two of my co-workers, staring at my phone every few minutes. I wasn’t expecting our phone call until next week, but just couldn’t stop checking it.

Dave called me at 12:59. I thought he was just calling to tell me he had gotten Ezekiel settled back in school. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hello?
Dave: Hello, Dave here.
Me: (what a goofball. Of course I know it’s him) Hey honey.
Dave: You have officially received your travel call.
Me: What???? Are you kidding me? If this is a joke, that’s a really mean joke!
Dave: I would never joke about that! For real, we got the travel call, I just got off the phone with Lisa!!!

Oh my. I got off the phone with him after getting all the details and hopped around the office shouting, “I’m going to Korea!” My co-workers love me and my dorky, excitable ways. Thank goodness for that.

Because of the large number of families traveling to bring their children home, our agency asked us to wait until the week of the 1st to travel. We are okay with that. It gives us time to tie up loose ends, and prepare Ezekiel for us being gone (he is staying with my parents). My favorite part is that we will have Simon home by his birthday!!!!!!! We are waiting for the official approval of our itinerary from our agency, but it looks like we will be flying out Sept 30 and flying back Oct 7. Simon’s adoption day will be on either Oct 4th or 5th.

Today reminds me a lot of a special day almost 4 year ago. I am one happy mama today!

A Good Day

After hearing no news each time I called the Visa Processing Center in DC last week and this week, I had decided that I wasn’t going to call again until Friday. It just got me too down. Then, this morning one of my bloggy friends told me another family had received news of their son’s visa interview being scheduled. It was the only prompting I needed to call DC and check on Simon’s visa.

Dave was home, so I was hoping I could talk him into calling. He was on the phone, though, and I couldn’t wait another minute, so I dialed up the line and held my breath. I gave the woman on the other end of the line Simon’s SEO number, and waited. And waited. And waited. Their computers are slow. Suddenly she said, “Oh, he’s so handsome!” I immediately started crying. I knew that the fact they could see his picture in the system meant that our last step was complete. Simon’s visa interview is scheduled for 9/21 at 1 pm in Seoul. Which means our travel call can come anytime after that.

I’m in tears, I’m so happy that there is a 99% chance that Simon will be home by his birthday. A small part of me remains skeptical because I know things can still hold up the process. The ups and downs of adoption have a way of making me feel a bit of disbelief every step of the way.

Later in the morning, I checked the mailbox, and there was a packet of pictures in the mail of Simon! I had connected with a family last week through a random series of events, and it turns out her daughter and my son had the same foster family. She picked her daughter up last week, and had pictures of Simon! Then when she got home, she found that the foster mom had accidentally given her a roll of film of Simon. She mailed them to me, and I was so grateful to get them today!!!

My teeny tiny cheesemeister

So Close I Can Almost Taste Those Butterflies In My Stomach

Today brought about all kinds of good news for different families waiting to bring their children home from Korea. Nearly everyone from the batch before us has received their travel calls. I think there are just a couple of families ahead of us now. Plus, one family that I know from our batch received their travel call today! That means ours could come any day (or could still be weeks out – who knows in this crazy world of adoption!?).

Over the weekend, besides celebrating our decade of love, we worked diligently on the house. Picking up a few more things that we needed for Simon’s room (including a steal of a deal on a dresser at a garage sale!), cleaning like maniacs, and getting some relaxing time in as well.

I finally had time to sit and look through our budget from turning over our rental for our new tenant. It’s not pretty. We had to dip into the money we’d saved up for our adoption to cover some of the repairs we needed to make. And we don’t anticipate that we’ll see a penny of what is owed by our previous tenants. Please be praying that we are able to come up with the funds we need to cover both the travel and the 8 weeks I am taking off once we get that travel call and go get Simon.

I’ve been feeling so anxious about all of this. I seem to forget that we’ve always been able to make life work. No matter what. God always provides for us. I feel like I should write this out on sticky notes and place them all over my home, car, and work to remind me of this.

At one point yesterday, I was in Simon’s room packing his suitcase. Ezekiel came in and was playing with all of his old toys, and some new toys we’ve received for Simon. He was playing with a squishy ball that plays music. He was singing along with the songs, and knew each of them word for word (I’d never heard them before). I asked him how in the world he knew those songs so well, and he answered, “Mom. It’s my baby brother’s ball”. Like I was the densest person in the world for not realizing that.

Decade of Love

(said in your best Barry White voice)

Today, Dave and I celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss. He’s taking me to Korea in 2-4 weeks for a little belated anniversary gift. Er. Well, maybe for other reasons too.

This morning we all got up to get ready for our day, and Dave said, “Ezekiel, do you know what today is?” Ezekiel replied, “No” (in a grumpy voice – he did NOT want to wake up this morning). Dave told him, “It’s Mommy’s and my anniversary today!” (silence from our 5-turned-15-year-old) “That’s kind of like our wedding birthday. Our wedding was 10 years ago today!” Ezekiel thought for a second. Then in a whiny voice he said, “But I want it to be MY birthday”.

Ezekiel had a couple of rough moments on Wed and Thur with having hitting hands. His teacher had written me an e-mail, and also sent a note home in Eze’s backpack. Then he had a huge meltdown when Dave picked him up from the after-school care yesterday. We talked a bit about it when I got home from work. About how it makes Teacher, Mom, and Dad sad when his hands hit, and that we loved him.

Today Dave and I took the opportunity to have a nice anniversary lunch together. We had just gotten done talking about Ezekiel’s behavior, and hoping his Friday was going better when I glanced down at my phone and saw I’d gotten an e-mail from his teacher. The subject line was, “Having a GREAT Day!”, and said this:

Hi There!

I just wanted to let you know that we are having a great day at school!  Ezekiel is being very conscious of his hands when he is in line.  He is trying very hard to make us all happy!  He is very excited to sleep at Nana’s house because “My mom and Dad are going to get married in 10 weeks”!  I translated that to it being your 10 year anniversary?!  If so, congratulations and have a good weekend.

 

Dave and I laughed and laughed when we read that. I love Ezekiel’s interpretation of what we told him. And I love that his teacher was able to decipher it correctly. She is such a great teacher for him. We feel so blessed to have her in our lives.

Tonight, poor Eze baby was utterly and completely exhausted. He had another meltdown when it was time to leave after-school care, and cried at most things this evening. Then, in true Eze-stressed-out fashion, he had some poo issues. He cried the saddest cry tonight as he worked through those issues. Time to go back on Miralax! We knew that would likely happen, so it wasn’t a surprise. It just broke my heart to see him hurting so badly.

Dave and I chuckled later over what our anniversaries look like now vs. what they looked like pre-kids. We wouldn’t trade it for the world. And it helps that tomorrow night Dave and I will get a good and proper date!

An older pic of Ezekiel from summer – daycare had done face painting (they made Eze up like a pirate), and it had all worn off by the time he got home. Except for the paint on his forehead and eyebrows. This picture makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Kindergarten Kraziness

Today, Ezekiel started Kindergarten. My brave, resilient, perseverant little man took that next step toward independence. And, of course, our day wasn’t without adventures and lessons learned…

He woke up bright and early, telling me that he “didn’t sleep a wink last night!” (Although when Mama headed to bed, he was snoring and Darth Vader-breathing up a storm). He got to have a special breakfast of pop-tarts, although he didn’t eat much. Oh, and he got to wear his new shoes that have light-up light sabers (right for the red foot, blue for the left foot). Super exciting!

We walked down to the bus stop all together, and watched him get on Bus 5 without a backward glance at Mom and Dad. Dave and I quickly walked home and drove over to the school where we planned to meet him getting off the bus. We got to the playground where we were supposed to meet him, and waited. And waited. And waited. We realized after a few minutes that we should be seeing him, but weren’t, so Dave (who used to be a paraprofessional at the school) talked to one of his para buddies, and she got the bus service on the phone. In the meantime, I headed in to the school and mentioned to Eze’s teacher, and my mom (the EBD teacher at the elementary school) that Ezekiel hadn’t shown up yet.

I wandered around the school to see if Ezekiel happened to be in the cafeteria, or his classroom, or my mom’s room, but had no luck. I went back out to the playground and Dave told me that the bus driver had let him off at the Intermediate School. The school for 3rd-6th graders. (Because my kindergartener is so huge?!). They would be bringing him right over and I should meet him by the bus drop-off. What I didn’t realize was that they were dropping him off in a car, not his bus. I wandered all around trying to figure out where he was, and in the meantime he and the bus service manager ran into Dave.

Dave got him to his classroom, I still had no idea where they were, and of course had my ringer off. I chatted with a couple of friends, and then ran into my sister (who has a first-grader in the same school) who told me, “Dave has him! He wants you to get to his classroom”. I hurried over and when I saw Ezekiel, I felt relief flood through my body. I told him that I was so glad that he’d gotten to the right place, and that I was so proud of him for staying calm. He told me, “I wasn’t even scared at all, Mom!”

I picked him up from the after-school care program at school, and he exclaimed, “Kindergarten is so cool, Mom!!!” Again, relief flooded through my body. I’m so grateful for my resilient, brave boy. Of course, all of the teachers had heard about his adventures, and when we saw any of them as we walked out the door, they commented on what a brave boy he was for being on such a great adventure this morning.

It’s times like these that I wish with all my heart that his birth family could see what an amazing boy Ezekiel has become. He’s so smart. So loved. So persistent. So sparkly. So full of life.

First Day of Kindergarten!

The Bus.

Eze finally at his classroom and at his locker! Feeling nervous after the morning’s adventures.

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