Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blessings during the Wait

This week ended up being a wonderful break from the norm and full of adoption fun!

Early in the week we received a Well Baby Check (WBC) on our little girl! It was a hectic day and I had not checked my email once until that evening...I had not expected one so soon so I was thrilled! Annalee is now 22 lbs, 28 inches long, and has her bottom two front teeth! Oh, how that got me as much as I have not been concerned with pining away during this wait (due to the busy work schedule) I was ready to throw all caution to the wind and jump on a plane immediately to go get my girl!

Work has been absolutely crazy for me, so I went to bed early Thursday, slept in late Saturday, and took a nap Sunday! Crazy I know! For any of you that know me I am a night owl and take pride in the minimal amount of sleep I usually require. However, between work and going to the gym several days a week, I have found that I am in need of a few more hours than before!

So rested up and ready to go we had lunch at Yamatos on Friday for hubby's birthday. We had Bugolgi, Yakatori, Teraki Chicken, and a Maki roll platter. I can't wait to taste Bugolgi in Korea! Friday night we headed to the pool for some relief from the heat and relaxation. There was only a handful of other people there so we had plenty of room to play and swim...and we ran into some friends and got to show of pictures of our girl :)

Saturday hubby took the boys to Lowe's kids workshop and built UFOs letting me sleep in until, not quite noon :) Aaaah! I love to sleep late on a Saturday! Then we decided to head to town and hit a few yardsales and furniture stores in search of items for Annalee's room....we hit the jackpot!

We stopped at a yardsale and you could see the pink from a block away!!! I went straight for the rack of dresses and for $55 we bought 2 coats, 12 boutique dresses, 6 pairs of shoes, and 20 items (shirts, pajamas, towel, pants, etc.) Then we stopped by another sale and for $2.75 bought a gingerbread and bunny costume and 3 shirts. If that were not enough we headed to Lowes to look at a chandalier for Annalee's room.

At Lowes we found some acccessory items and curtains that we liked, so our trip ended up with...paint for the walls, curtains, fabric storage boxes 2 large, 6 small, a chandalier, and a lamp for the dresser (which we bought for 1/2 price)! Hubby has been super busy getting the room ready..ceiling de-starred, painted, base boards taped off, walls painted with first coat of paint...pink of course!

I have been taking before/after pictures of the room and can't wait to share the progress! Now I am searching for a trundle bed, rocker, and rug for her room! Today I was trying to make a mental list of all the "baby" things we will need...it is amazing how easily you forget when your kids grow out of that stage!

Saturday evening we went to our friend's house, Rick & Janet, and our friend Christy (who was just approved for the Korea program with Holt) also came. We had a wonderful meal, wonderful fellowship, and the kids played until they were tuckered out and ready for bed! Both of these families have been such a blessing in our lives through their testimonies and adoption journeys!

Both ladies had the sweetest outfits they gave me for Annalee and I can't wait to see her in them! As soon as hubby finishes the room I am going to have to get her closet in order. I think she has a full 24 month/2T wardrobe at this point minus socks and pajamas! It has been so much fun buying frilly little dresses and shoes...even the boys are getting in on the act picking out stuff for Sissy!

Today we received confirmation that our I600 application has been logged with USCIS. Hopefully in the next 10-20 days we will receive our I600 approval. We are also waiting for the Korean agency to submit us for the Emigration Permit (EP) for Annalee to come to the United States...once EP is received travel tends to happen in around 30 days, so we are praying for quick processing and approval!

Have a blessed week!

The Ragsdales!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do you believe in Miracles? (Updated)

If you have experienced or witnessed the birth or pregnancy of a child and/or the adoption of a child...you have definitely witnessed probably not just one, but many miracles along those journeys!

As many of you know not only were we matched with our little girl the week of my birthday/father's day, but also we were able to obtain the large fee from accessing our 401K funds. Needless to say these were nothing less than miracles in our books and made this year amazing. However, what I haven't shared with you yet is what I would call the icing on the birthday cake.

The night of my birthday it had been a long day and I had struggle the entire day with a pretty bad headache. I took meds, took naps, and finally that night when all were in bed was wide awake and decided to check my email....

If you have been following this blog throughout our adoption journey you may remember in January when we reviewed the very first file of a little girl....click this link to read more:

Tears of Peace, Tears for Sunshine

...bottom line we were head over heels for this little girl and we were broken hearted and confused on the process, how God could allow a child to have such a grim possible prognosis, with the decision we knew that He was leading us to in not accepting the file. The few weeks when we reviewed the first two files were the toughest part to this process so far.

A few weeks later we noted that Sunshine had been matched with one of the families of several that had decided to proceed with her file. We were so happy when we knew this, but I still wondered about her - would she be okay? did we make the right decision? who were her parents?

I never saw a post about her on the forum am I on and we knew quite frankly that it was not our right or even a very big chance that God will allow us to know her journey. What we knew is that God had placed in our paths to pray to her family and to pray for her life and I was at peace in knowing that.

Now fast forward to the night of my birthday. I opened my email and this is what I read:

"I have been meaning to pm (message) you for a while now, I've just been waiting for the right moment, and now seems to be the perfect time!...I happened to read your blog, and I believe that our baby girl's file is one that your family was inquiring about...I remember reading your blog and how hard you & your beautiful family prayed for her, and I want you to know that I am so touched and so incredibly thankful for your prayers, and how genuinely happy you were that your "sunshine" found a family...us !!! I have prayed so hard for a child, and Baby Sunshine came to us just when we needed her. Already, she has changed me and NEVER in my life have I been happier....We have named her *******and I know that you would be over the moon to hear that ****** is HEALTHY, happy, growing and thriving. She is no longer thought to have mito disease...It's truly amazing how God has a plan for everyone...everything is in His time. I am SO SO SO very happy for you, your family, SO happy for Annalee, and hope that we will be lifelong friends What an exciting time for you, for me, for us !!!"

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?

It was one of the most precious gifts I have ever received...it was a balm on my heart and brought our journey full circle in amazing peace!

Needless to say I sat and cried to my hearts content to know that this little girl who we had prayed for, who the ladies in our church had laid hands on me and prayed for our decision for this little girl, for her health, for her family, for God's will! God is so gracious and amazing, His timing is perfect, and He loves us so far beyond what we can imagine!

Now I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive to see pictures of "Sunshine". I wondered how I would feel when I saw her picture, I love Annalee and we have the perfect daughter, but I wondered if their would still be a tug on our hearts. God again is amazing...when I saw her picture what we had was peace, happiness, joy for her and her family, and praise and awe that she is healthy! She is a beautiful little girl, just like her momma and I am so happy God placed them together.

I have one more request for "Sunshine" and her family...the last step to get your travel call is VI, the Visa Interview, which she had last week. Usually your Travel Call (TC) is within 48 hours...as of yesterday her momma still had not received travel call! Please pray that they will be travelling to Korea soon and her momma will get the call she is desparately waiting for. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it must be at this point to be waiting for the phone to ring! Please pray for safe travels and for a smooth transition!

Thank you my prayer warrior friends, not only for your prayers before, but for the prayers I know you will send up now!

Do you believe in Miracles? 

****Update****

The day after this post I found out that "Sunshine" will be coming home in less than two weeks...her mommy received Travel Call!!!! Awesome!!!!

...it's hard not to when you see such amazing orchestration from above!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

More Pictures of our Girl!!!

Here is the newborn picture we received of our baby girl...it is so funny that the Well Baby Checks for the first four months note her "yellow" hair! We think it is just darling!



Kodak has a great offer for 20 free photo cards and 50 free mommy cards...only cost...postage for $6.88! A great deal to share your sweet baby with the family and friends!





Above the picture is the front of the card (vertical)
and the back of the card is the writing (horizontal)

Our boys have bunkbeds in their room. I slipped one mommy card between the slats of the top bunk, so my little one can see her picture from the bottom bunk and them mounted one to the rail on the top bunk for our oldest son....their faces were priceless when they saw their own pictures of  Sissy!

For all of you out there that are preparing or will be preparing care packages for your babies...stay tuned...we bought a recordable story book from Hallmark and will try to post a video clip of it once it is complete...it is pricey, but well worth it for our baby to hear our voices everyday until we arrive!

Have a blessed week and be a blessing!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Package for Our Girl (Updated 08.04.2010)

Today I had a very important task to complete! We are gathering items to send to our sweet girl in a care package...our ideas:
  • A couple of outfits
  • Disposable camera
  • Picture Album
  • Stuffed Animal or Blanket
The biggest decision has been to decide what size of clothes to send. Our girl is 21 lbs at 7 months old. I was concerned that 18 months would be way to long, but then 12 months may be to small. I think I was at the store an hour or so picking up this and that, putting it down, looking at something else...well, here is what we ended up with for the outfits:
  • 12 month outfit
  • 12 month shorts
  • 18 month shirt
  • 18 month shirt
We think they are just so cute!!! We are hoping her Foster Mother will take pictures of her in the outfits to send to us!








Tomorrow we will work on the photo album. We were hoping to "Build-A-Bear" with the recordable squeeze buttons, so that we could each say something to her and put one in each hand and foot, but since Opry Mills flooded out, we will look for another option, I have heard Hallmark has books that you can record reading the pages, I think I will check these out!

We are just so happy to have our little girl and pray our journey to pick her up is very soon!

Happy 4th of July!

Update:

Here is a glimpse of our completed care package and the wonderful Recordable Storybooks that Hallmark have in stock. We are just waiting anxiously to hear that our girl has received her package!

video

Sweet little stuffed giraffe....we bought a twin to keep at home for when she comes!


Soft photo album with slots for pictures of dad with brothers, mom with brothers, and her grandparents.


A photo album with 20+ pictures of us...mommy, daddy, and brothers:


We also included two single use cameras, two Johnson & Johnson travel kits, and a translated letter to the foster parents....



We enjoyed specially picking out each item for our girl and prepared the package with such love. We hope to receive pictures of her soon enjoying the items we sent! This is a great way to endure this long wait...I highly recommend to waiting families.