Monday, August 30, 2010


This summer break I worked diligently on learning many things Korean. As many of you know, school started back up last Monday and a group of 4 very cute and super excited Asian boys in my study hall were asking me all about Christian. They were happy to hear that we have purchased a rice cooker. They consider it to be of utmost importance.

One of the boys is Korean-American, this had been established earlier in his math class, so I asked if he spoke Korean which he does. I told them how I had been working on the language but was kind of embarrassed because, like with all non-English, I know I am struggling with pronunciation. I tried a phrase I know super well, prefaced with "Tell me if you can understand what I say" to which he said "No", kind of giggled, asked me what I was trying to say and then pronounced it correctly. This put me on a mission. If the 12 year old GT kid doesn't understand me how will the 2 year old?

Today he comes up to me during study lab:

him - "Mrs. R can I ask you a questions?"

me - "Chol lee nee" (are you sleepy)

him - "Um, no, hey wait I could understand you that time."

me - "Me an he" (I'm sorry)

him - looking even more confused - "Oh hey you just said you're sorry."

I showed him the MP3 player I have a recording of pronunciations on - he sure has a brilliant. smile.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Form Made It

I am super excited to tell y'all that the family registry form has made its way to the Korean adoption agency. It was signed for at 2:54 PM on Friday August 27th. For all of you that are keeping track that was actually 12 hours ago as Seoul is already into early Saturday morning.

I hope, hope, hope that the social worker, or whomever was in charge of getting our papers to the Embassy, got them off so they are their for Monday. As a recap, I was told that the little man would be ready 5 to 8 business days after the paperwork makes its way to the Embassy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The last document made it's way to Korea August 26 at 10:35 AM. It is now in transit. The FedEx website estimates delivery as August 27 at 6 PM. Sadly that would be after business hours on a Friday. Weekends are such a blessing and a curse.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Call NOT "The Call"

Today was the first day of school. At about 1 PM I could hear my phone vibrating and my heart started to pound. I quickly lost all focus and it took a few seconds for me to get back on track. Thankfully classes are short on the first day so it wasn't too long before I had a chance to look and see who had called. When I saw that it was the International agency my heart started to race once again. However, when I checked the voice mail it was quickly apparent that this was not "the call".

We had to, hold on to your seats, fill out even more paperwork. If we were considering our glass to be half empty we would be very frustrated. Frig had to rush up to school so we could get yet another document notarized, oddly only one copy this time, and then off to the post office for overnight delivery across country. It will take about two more weeks because the visa application will not be taken to the Embassy until this form arrives in Korea and then it is 5 to 8 business days from then for Christian to be ready.

However, we are trying to consider our glass to be half-full. The document we had to send was an acknowledgment that we understand Christian to have been entered onto his birth parents' family registry. In brief, this means should he one day want to search for his birth family he will have more information available to him than the average Korean adoptee. In addition, it appears that peak travel season ends with August and ticket prices drop by a significant amount. For the past few months families have been paying around 2K per round trip ticket. We might be lucky to pay just half that should we travel in September.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Bedroom

For one reason or another the blog and this video just do not seem to like each other. Originally I tried to make it a part of the previous post; however, it was met with error message after error message. I finally gave up. After trying a direct upload to a new post, also a failure, I decided to attempt a completely different approach all together.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

CJ Zones

I would like to make it very clear that Frig and I completely understand our whole house will be one great big Christian zone. We are under no false impressions. When we all returned from the hometown shower Robin placed Christian's 3-wheeler in the foyer and said "I guess we'll just get used to having his toys all over the place."

These pictures and video are intended to show the parts of the house which have been given extra care as we have been preparing these past few months.

Thanks to the advice from my friend Chris W., a three time mom with a toddler of her own, we went with a chair a booster from the start.

We picked this table for several reasons: it matches another kitchen item, it has the drop leaves we like so much, and it came complete with a place to store Christian's plates and cups.

Bathroom: I asked Frig do the video - enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nam Gang

Today Frig and I went with a few close friends to eat Korean BBQ in celebration of our best man's birthday. The experience was delightful! Lots of bulgogi, fresh squid, and tons of sides.

One of the greatest things about eating Korean BBQ out, besides not having to clean the pan, is the variety of sides that keep coming and coming and coming. We decided the very nice waitress determined we were more adventurous than she had essentially given us credit. When she brought out fresh sides, with our second round of bulgogi, they were made of less common ingredients such as the smallest dried anchovies with heads intact.

One of our companions is the most adorable 3 year old. After he was finished eating "Uncle" Frig took him for a walk. The rest of us sitting at the table took this time to acknowledge the fact that this was the moment Frig had been waiting for the whole meal. The two of them played on and off until the adults were finished eating.

Once Christian has started to attach Frig and I plan to take him to this restaurant. We hope he will feel very comfortable there. As the birthday boy said, if we take him there too soon he may want to go home with the women that work there. They sure were loving on the little one we had with us today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Bad & Class B Wavier

Earlier I was musing on what makes the message board a good palace to go, but for sure it also has a bad point. I believe that Frig would tell you this one bad point out ways all of the good because he has to deal with me and my OBSESSIONS! Yes, the message board adds to my obsessiveness. As if I needed anything extra to make me neurotic about the whole process.

On a happy note, the FedEx tracking number paid off. The Class B waiver arrived at its destination at 10:34 on August 12. It look like waiting for "the call" is this last step in the pre-travel process.

So I finally started really looking at air fair and finding out, much to my horror, that there are no direct flights from my international airport to Seoul. I didn't want a layover. We always have layovers when I take students to Europe so I see how the moms and dads struggle with their little ones in the long lines.

The Good

I belong to a message board for moms (mostly) and dads of Korean adoptees. Being a member of the board definetly has it's good points. Such as I can get answers to my questions from experienced parents. Often times I don't even have to be the one that asks the questions because someone else got to it first. I have a whole bookmarked folder titled "CJ tips". Some of the threads won't be needed for sometime, regarding his citizenship and getting him a Social Security card, it is nice to be prepared for what is to come. Other threads are more relevant to the present like what to pack for Korea, what to buy and where to shop. Because it is peak travel season there have been a lot of recent posts about plane ticket prices, so very scary, and all the usual hotels being completely booked. I really would rather stay in the less expensive guest house so I hope that works out for us. It cost about a quarter of the hotels many people are using.

The board also keeps me very grounded when it comes to what to expect when we first pick Christian up from the adoption agency. I have read a fair amount of adoption literature regarding grieving and attachment, but it is nothing like reading the first had accounts of the moms on the board. A few weeks ago one even mentioned how no amount of preparation through reading would have kept her heart from breaking as she watched her daughter grieve for her foster mom. Yes, there are little ones that seem to be extremely resilient, but it doesn't appear to be the norm.

For instance, one mom posted just recently "The meeting went great...then we got in the taxi and all hell broke loose! The high pitched, panicked shrieks of terror are something I will never forget as long as I live." It is not uncommon for the screaming to go on for days broken only while the baby sleeps extra long hours to cope with their grief. A mom of a young toddler that just came home is having trouble performing regular care taking tasks because her son tells her "umma" and takes off running. Meaning these are task his foster mom performs and he doesn't wish for his adoptive mom to do them yet.

Of course we will show Christian lots of love, but it is also going to take some calculated attachment behaviors to help all of us bond. I know that the message board, a few choice websites and the literature filing our house will all be helpful during the process.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nesting is Hard Work

Frig and I are both taking a little couch time break after putting in some labor this morning. We are working on washing all of CJ's new clothes, as well as a bunch of ours that was neglected when we had company two weeks ago, and more. I cleaned the grout on the floor of the bathroom Christian and I will both be using while Frig worked on the kitchen and securing the booster to the chair. We aren't sure the leg room is right, but at least Frig knows how to adjust it when the time comes. Frig had to call his mom to ask her a questions. The first thing out of her mouth- "Did you get THE CALL?" Everyone is waiting for the call. I'm so glad I still have preparations to finish.

The first thing I did when the web-browser opened was to check my email. I wanted to take a look at how our Class B waiver is progressing on its way to Seoul. It appears that the package left Oakland, CA at just before 2 AM. It is on time for an expected arrival in Seoul at 6 PM this Thursday.

There are a few other things that are happening while we wait, but Korea does not notify of progress on these steps. They include P3, submitting all paper work (I600, I864, birth/marriage/divorce certificates of adoptive parents, 1040, W2, legal document of child, vaccination certificate, visa physical examination, medical acceptance letter, photo of child and IR4) to the Embassy, and a Visa Interview at the Embassy. There is a chance that these steps are already complete since we waited so long for the VP and Korea had all required paperwork to submit P3 weeks ago. That is what we are hoping for anyways.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Better Late Than Never

I know I said that I would have pictures of his room "Phase II" up some time last week and failed to follow through. Honestly the old camera was so slow is made taking pictures a real chore. I should have just followed through though because now I have all of the gifts from the Out of Town shower all over the place. Nevertheless, I thought I would give you a feel for how the room is coming along piles and all. Especially now that I have a new camera to use for taking the pictures. Thanks to cousin Brian's advice I can now enjoy taking pictures again.I don't know if you can tell, but Aunt Nancy embroidered his name in the ears!

The closet looks so empty, but never fear there are clothes in the dresser and all of the newest stuff is being washed.
The family in frogs.

Tomorrow I will be spending the day working on the bathroom, giving it what I expect will be its last deep cleaning for some time, as well as his room. I wish one of the grand-dads were in town so they could come by and put up shelves and such for us. At last count it is going to take all of the remaining 14 dry wall screws to get everything in place. It almost makes me wonder why I bothered to patch all of the holes. Maybe I could have used a few of them now.

Class B Waiver

Last Friday I sent an email to the international agency asking how the Visa Physical had gone and if a waiver was going to be necessary. The waiver is a statement to the South Korean government confirming that Frig and I are aware of Christian's medical problems and willing to cover his medical treatment. The agency confirmed that we would need to complete the Class B and sent me the required documents.

Frig and I were able to get the four copies notarized and sent off to Oregon overnight for an expected arrival Saturday 8/7/2010. I have heard that at least one other family sent their Class B on Friday, overnight of course, and received their Travel Call the following Friday. I am getting very excited and very scared all at once. The emotions are unbelievable.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

July Well Baby Check

We still have no idea how the August 4 Visa Physical went, and I don't know that we ever will, but we did receive documents from a doctor's visit that took place on July 23. I have sent the documents on to our pediatrician with hopes that she will clarify some of the contents. One of the documents is the results from an Echo and the other is a "Cardiology note". The Echo results are pretty meaninglessness to me, but I do believe I am able to understand part of the note.

This would be a good time to use one of Frig's favorite sayings; do you want the good news or the bad news first? I'll start with the good news because that is what came first in the note. Apparently the VSD has gotten smaller. The bad news is it looks like the note recommends an operation will be needed. For some reason pressure has developed. I don't really understand why and due to the abbreviations used I do not know that it would be worth it to try a google search.

While Frig and I knew that corrective surgery was a very real possibility I never expected it would be a reality. I am being very cautious regarding Christian's grieving and attachment, but have been optimistic when it came to his prognosis. This is a bit of a blow to that optimism to say the least.