Saturday, March 27, 2010

Love or Hate...depends...

Is there an object in your life that you have a love/hate relationship with?
You know that object that is an everyday part of your life. You may take it with your everywhere you go, or check on it everytime you walk in the door, or wonder while you're gone what you'll find the next time you use it?
Well, in our house the object or our affection or dismay is our ANSWERING MACHINE!
As we have approached the three month mark waiting for a referral the answering machine has become that golden fortune cookie. Everytime we walk in the door, we glance around the corner to see if the light is blinking, then if there is the red light, we dash to the bedroom and press play. Deep breath, could this be the day? Could this be the call that changes our lives forever?
This week we have had two red light alerts...
Thursday my hubby was a bit down, so after several hugs and a bit of prodding I discovered that the darned machine had once again disappointed. Instead of "Hello, this is the waiting child program with Holt", hubby came home to hear, "Hello! This is your local PEEBLES, this is a message for only our best customers...!" AGH!!! You have to be kidding me right; at this point we don't care about the sale this weekend! Especially my hubby!
Of course I completely understood the disappointment of having that anticipation and butterfly in your belly, just before you push the "play" button. A million thoughts begin to rush through your mind, what will she look like, how old will she be, are we really prepared to add a third child to the mix. It's like that 3-5 minute period while you're waiting for the stick to show one line or two.
Today I came home from work and as I plopped my computer bag and purse on the couch, I glanced at the phone to see the red light blinking. Woohoo, "Son, hold that though I'll be right back" as I scurried to the bedroom. Pause. Deep Breath. Play. "Hello, this is your local Kingdom Hall of J. W. calling to invite you to the death of Jesus celebration..." Delete.
"What the heck, you have got to be kidding me?!?" That is what verbally came out of my mouth, but my mind was saying something a little more colorful, including "Holy" and "Hockeysticks".  First, what kind of celebration are they having, are you kidding me? Disturbing. Second...I am now totally in a hate relationship with my answering machine!
Thankfully it is Friday and so now we get a breather, the two day vacation from the answering machine roller coaster. Someone said recently, that you know you are adopting when you wish away your weekends and holidays (because you know you can't get "THE CALL" when the offices are closed). I would add to that, "You know you are adopting when a little red light, causes you to run, instead of stop, and tempts you to toss an electronic devices against the wall for stress relief!" :)
Ahhh....but I wouldn't trade it for the world!!!! You know, because next time, it might actually be THE CALL! The joy of sweet hope!
Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, March 22, 2010

How do you wait?

Waiting can be a tough thing to do!
How does one wait for things? Well, you hope to do it with grace abounding, as we all know patience is a virtue! However, in reality, patience is usually not gained graciously, but through the trials of times that try our will, our desire, and our resolve to stand strong and not loose hope for the goal, the prize, the wonderful blessing.
Most days in our home we wait without much thought to the time. We are busy with church, school, work, friends, and family. Some days our schedule seems brimming to the edge of the cup! This is not a complaint as we are so blessed to have a life enriched with the many people in our lives. In fact, until recently the time passed so quickly, we didn't even imagine that tomorrow will mark three months, since our names were placed on the list for our referral for our daughter!
The past three months have included so much growth and learning about adoption, two girl files that were placed with families, reading books, fingerprints, medical risk dvds, fundraising, lots of visits from my parents, and tons of church activities! It is no wonder that the time passed so quickly!
One thing that has occupied time over the past couple of months has been a new craft/hobby - KNITTING! Thank you to the Material Girls group at Hillcrest Baptist Church and specifically Ms. Connie (and all the yarn donated by my mom) - I can knit, pearl, increase, decrease, and found a hobby that is quite enjoyable!
Below are some of the pieces made in the past weeks:
First Piece - Dish Rag

Second Piece - Pot Holder

Tribbles/Pot Scrubbers

Adult Hat - fits hubby & I

Toddler Hat - fits our 3 year old

Kid Hat - fits our 9 year old

Infant Hat - fits our baby doll
So, this is how the time is passed lately in the Ragsdale House...knitting needles, looms, and yarn!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bulbs, Fingerprints, and Videos

What a random collection of items in the title, right?
Well, in our adoption world they all three resulted into many steps complete in our adoption journey!
Last night Hubby and I watched the second of a two part medical risks DVD. The video had a great IAP (International Adoption Provider) that led the taped meeting. She provided some great information and even though it was only about China and Guatemala, the data on Guatemala seemed very similar to what we have learned about the Korean system of health have risks and child care. The #1 thing we learned on the DVD - if you are in a meeting that will be taped...make sure you have plenty of halls ready for the coughers! Ah, ah, cough, cough :)
Now that we have completed our DVDs we have to complete the online classes and take our infant & child CPR/First Aid certification. Since the CPR certification is only good for one year, when it is done through the Red Cross, then we will probably wait until closer to referral to take the class.
Today we went to the USCIS Service Center in Nashville, TN to have our biometrics completed. We arrived and hour early...since we weren't sure where we were going or how long of a wait we would have. When we arrived there was only one other couple wrapping up, we filled out the paperwork, immediately had our prints completed, and were out the door in less than 15-20 minutes! The people were very nice and the only issue we had was my birthday scanned three days off from the actual date, so they indicated they would fix it.
The lady completing my prints indicated she had seen several that day that scanned incorrectly. I asked if our prints were good as I had trouble getting my prints scanned for work once before and she indicated that it is not up to their office to accept the prints, so we would have to wait for a determination in a couple of weeks. She did ask if I had burned my right hand, because the skin on my right pinky fingertip was very had little vertical lines on the print. I indicated "no" but I have been knitting lately and we think it is probably "yarn burn"...too funny! (I will have to post some of my knitting projects on another day!)
When we arrived home this evening, there was a black crate on our front porch. I was so excited! Our bulb orders had arrived from Dutch Mill Bulbs! The order was correct and now I can get all of the orders delivered this weekend! Yeah! Also, they came in this great plastic rectangle crate with handles..I am sure to find a good use for it!
When we entered the house, as is routine lately, I rushed to the phone to see if there was a red light blinking for an answering machine message. It was! I took a deep breath and hit "play", well, it was nothing more than a meeting cancellation notice for my hubby!So, no referral as of 03/18/2010, but I think we made great progress this week!!!!
What are the next steps on our journy?
  • Register for the on-line classes
  • Ethan & I apply for Passports
  • Mission for Annalee Easter Cakes
  • Starting to prepare for the April Yardsale
Also, a group on the Holt BB decided to give up something or do something until EPs are issued and referrals are issued to thost that have been waiting the longest...kind of like fasting or lent. So, as a consensus people decided to start doing sit-ups, so I have committed to doing 25 sit-ups a day through the end of the year! Hopefully this will offset my waiting for my baby to come junk food eating I have been doing! :) This week we have had 7 travel calls and multiple referrals in the past 10 days! Yeah!
We love to see babies matched and coming home to their forever families!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cakes & Cleaning

To everyone that has been asking about the Mission for Annalee Cakes....We will be baking the week before Easter, with the last deliveries being made the Friday before Easter. See the following link for information on our cakes:
If you would like to order start early, I only have boxes for 61 more cakes! We need at least a 48 hour advanced notice on orders.
Now for the second topic cleaning...a few days with warm weather and the leap forward this weekend has put our family in spring cleaning mode. We are also a family on a mission!
What mission?
Well, we plan to have our huge Mission For Annalee Yard Sale in April. We are going through the house and all the clutter will be out and hopefully bring in a huge chunk of change! Please pray that our yardsale is a huge success. Also, I have some collectable items I will be selling and am hoping for top dollar!
Are you in the Spring Cleaning mode? What area of your house are you ready to tackle? Well, we are here to help! If you have donations for the yard sale and live locally we will come and pick them up (...if they'll fit in the mini-van) :) If you live a little further away and have items, check with us, we have met a few people to pick up their donations!
We can't tell you how much your prayers, love & support mean to our family! Please pray for us as the wait hits three months waiting for a referral soon. We expected this long of a wait or more, but some days are harder than others. Also, we are getting our fingerprints done Thursday for our US pre-approval to adopt...pray they are clear and speed through this part of the process!
Have a great week!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Korean Adoptive Family Celebration

Last night was such a wonderful treat for our family! A few weeks ago we learned of a Family Celebration for Korean Adoptive Families hosted by the Korean United Methodist Church in Brentwood, TN. We emailed the contact and Ms. Virginia sent us an email welcoming us to come to the event and sending us information about the Korea Cultural Program they host.
We arrived at around 4:45pm after a visit to Opry Mills for a quick browse through the mall. Our youngest began to feel a bit under the weather, but he was a trooper! As soon as we arrived we were welcomed by many people, signed in at the welcome desk, then went into the fellowship hall filled with tables. The smell of freshly made Korean dishes wafted through the air, and the beautiful faces of children filled the room!
The people we met at the church were so welcoming, they made sure to include our boys each time they introduced themselves and ask about our journey. After a brief introduction and information about the nights events, they passed a microphone around the room and each family introduced themselves. There were families that had adopted, adults that had been adopted, families in the adoption process, and all of the many members that hosted the various programs at their church.
We met two families that we talked with. The first family had a three year old bio son and eighteen month old adopted son, who had just arrived home three months prior. The father travelled to Korea and picked up the son. It was nice to talk with them, and as the mom put it, "he is still getting used to the idea of all of this." He was adorable, but you could tell they were all still adjusting to the change. It is good to see families living the different stages of the process that I am sure we will experience.
The second family had a six year old adopted son and a thirteen month old adopted daughter, who had just arrived home six weeks earlier. Their little boy shook Nate's hand and their little girl smiled and waved at us. The family had just such a joy about them. We were able to talk with them and learned their daughter was chosen from a Waiting Child photolisting after they had turned down two prior files. Although she had medical issues/risks in her file, they worked with the team at Vanderbilt in their International Adoption Clinc. Their little girl is healthy and such a sweet little girl!
During the family introductions by the whole group we quickly found that Lily was the most popular girl names, their must have been 8-10. Liam was the most popular boys name with 3-5. One family had adopted four children, and two families were waiting to travel to Korea after receiving sibling calls (their adopted child's birthmother had another child, who they are now adopting).
The meal was wonderful, we dined on bugolgi (my favorite), kim-chi, salad, seafood pancakes, gimbimbap, Japchae, bibim naengmyon, and fresh fruit. (At least I think these are what we ate based on the on-line descriptions of the dishes! Nate tried the spicy dishes, our oldest really liked the seafood pancake, and I liked the gimbimbap and bugolgi the best. It will be so wonderful to taste all of these dishes in Korea and it will be a must to get a great cookbook while we are there (that is in English of course)!
After the meal, we transitioned to the sanctuary, where we watched a video on Korea, were taught a song in Korean (This is the day that the Lord has made), watched a dance by the children, and then the young girld did a fan dance. They said they were going to call the group doing the fan dance trouble, because that is what their parents would experience when the boys start coming to visit, because they were so beautiful. The fan dance brought tears to my eyes, it was such an honor and was so beautiful, it was a dance they would do for high guests.
The gentleman that was the emcee for the night was so funny! He did a wonderful job putting us all at ease and helping to convey the honor of their traditions and the line that connects us all as in adoption our families become connected to a new family in the bond that we share. Ms. Virginia found me and welcomed glad that we came, our oldest and her youngest boy share the same name. It was so nice to meet her and to know someone else there, even if it was only through email.
The night really made me think about how interesting it will be when we travel to Korea and everyone speaks a language that we will not understand, yet knowing it will be okay if everyone is as kind as they were last night. It also made me reflect on how it will be for our daughter to be in a country where the language, the people, the sounds, and smells will be so foreign to what she loves and knows. It will no doubt be a difficult time for her and she will greive these things. The gentleman that taught us the song, said it is hard to tell you what I want to say in English, it is hard for me to speak English...he did a wonderful time and as difficult as it was he was so gracious to speak English to help us feel welcome and to teach us something new.
We can't wait to meet our daugter and hopefully take her next year. We also will be learning more about their cultural activities. They teach adults Korean culture and cooking, the kids can learn Korean language and Tai Kwan Do. This church has such a sweet spirit and wonderful ministry and we thank God that we were able to experience their love. As we left last night a lady handed me a small gift bag with something we will put up for Annalee, then she and another lady in their Hanbocks (Korean Dresses) hugged us and gave a farewell blessing...what a perfect end to a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Biometrics & a Travel Buddy

This week we received great news in the mail, the USCIS has scheduled our biometrics appointments, in plain English on March 18th, Nate and I will head to Nashville, TN to be fingerprinted. This is the last step for us to have our I600A approved - Our Advanced Petition to Adopt. Once we have been matched officially with our little girl, we will file the I600, which will be our approval to bring her to the US as our daughter.
This isn't a huge step, but it is one more step to the journey to our daughter - and  this week I needed to have just one more step to be on the way! I have been so thrilled to have the girls from the first two files matched with their families and knew now if we received a referral there would be no hesitance or regrets. What I didn't count on is now having this ever-present void, longing to see a picture of my little girl, her birthdate, the town she is from, and all the things you can learn about your child when they are halfway around the world.
So each day this week has held something to think of my daughter....
Sunday - My parents and brothers were in town. My mom and I went shopping at Peebles and I bought our little girl a cute little pink pant & jacket set with little pink flowers. After nine years of dressing boys & buying my nieces the cute girl stuff...I will get to enjoy the bows & lace!
Monday - A friend from work and I went to Yamato's a hibachi grill near work. I had bogulgi, my favorite Korean dish! The food was wonderful! I can't wait to eat Korean food in Korea!
Also, on Monday my travel companion received the exciting news that they will be travelling with me to Korea! We decided that we definitely wanted one parent to stay home with our kids, so I was nominated and eagerly accepted the "traveling to Korea" parent role and hubby chose the "stay in the US" parent role. So, can you guess who is going with me to Korea?
Wednesday - I took our oldest to the Orthodontist, both boys to the Chiropractor, worked, then went to church for dinner and worked there for a few hours, then came home and worked some more to finish out my 8 hours for the day. So, how does this relate to our daughter? Days like this make me question if I am totally crazy for wanting to add yet another person to our hectic life? You bet! The days may be long, our schedules may sometimes set us spinning, but I can't wait to add another member to our crowd!
I bet you are thinking...I can't believe she just left us hanging!!! Who is going to be the lucky person to go to Korea, to meet sweet Annalee, and tour the countryside? How cruel! Well, I wouldn't be that mean!
My travel buddy is our oldest son! He will most likely be ten by the time we travel and this would be such an awesome experience for him. Hubby and I were discussing that prior to getting married neither of us had flown commercial flight, rode in the subway, taken a taxi cab, and neither of us have been out of the country. We are hoping travel will happen on a school break, but either way we're pretty sure the headmaster will cut him a break for this type of learning experience!
When we told him, he immediately said, "NO! I don't want to go, what if something happens?" to which our youngest grabbed my arm and said, "I want to go wif ewe mommy!" We weren't surprised as that is the difference in their personalities, but after about a half hour of discussing all of the aspects of the trip and experience and how people fly everyday with no problems...he was finally excited about going and made sure to share with his teacher and friends the next day at school!
Now the two of us need to take a day and go get our passports submitted. We also both need a good camera to take with us to capture the moments and the country! I told him not only will he have great material for a school project, but he will forever be able to share with his sister the story of meeting her and all about her country! We know that these will be memories they will always cherish!
As for little guy, he will get some great one-on-one time with dad! Our oldest was home with Dad until Kindergarten and our youngest doesn't usually just get dad time without brother or mom around. I think they will have such a great time bonding, playing, and doing typical "guy" stuff!
Have a very blessed rest of the week and thank you for dropping by to check in on our journey...we are praying for lots of good news to share in the not to distant future! Only time will tell :)