Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Little Late Night Perspective

Okay, I've done it again..... after meeting Miles yesterday we came back to the hotel and while Dustin uploaded all of the pictures and videos, I fell asleep with all of my clothes on - around 6:30 p.m. I guess yesterday just wiped me out. It is almost midnight here now and I decided to get up for a bit in hopes of sleeping in. This was also the first chance I got to see the video of Miles since I was out like a light by the time he finished them.

Yesterday morning we got up and had an amazing breakfast at our hotel restaurant. After that we headed to Seoul Tower in Namsam park. I knew that the trek was uphill, but I didn't realize that it was REALLY uphill. I've never climbed so many stairs in my entire life. This is me when I felt like I couldn't go anymore - only to find out later that we were about 1/20 of the way up the entirety of the stairs! However, getting to the top was well worth it. Once there we saw the wall of love notes that I've read about. People lock their love notes to each up there, all along the wall. I surprised Dustin with our own little threesome of locks that had our names on them. Maybe some day when we come back, we'll be able to find them again.
Once at Seoul Tower we also went up to the observation deck and had a snack at their cafe, which was also fun and really interesting.
After that we walked around the city a bit until utter exhaustion set in. We then headed back to the hotel as we waited for a very important meeting. Dustin was so nervous - does anyone remember our wedding day?? - a very close comparison for nervousness coming from Dustin, except I don't think he actually threw up this time.
I wish I could write in this blog how meaningful and important and beautiful that one hour of my life was, but I would never do it justice. There is no way to describe meeting a person you have loved for so long for the the first time. If it is any indication how overcome we were, we really only took the photographs that you see below. You would think that we would have been shooting constantly, but I think that we were both so taken by the moment that the camera just got in our way. In fact, you'll notice that the only picture I took of Dustin and Miles is completely blurry....(I thought you'd like that Mark), so even my instincts were out of whack. What surprised me the most was that he was FAST and EVERYWHERE! At one point he was wrestling a stuffed Pooh that was bigger than him. His uncle Colling would have been so proud. :)
Afterwards we went to a street vendor for a little snack since we could finally think straight and realized we were famished. Our plans were to go back to the hotel, post pictures, and then go out to eat at this great restaurant we've heard about.....that was until I completely sabotaged our plans with my messed up sleep schedule.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) we are going to go shopping like crazy. I already told Dustin to wear his most comfortable tennis shoes because the plan is to hit up some of the local markets.
On Thursday we have a luncheon where they honor the families and then afterwards we get to see Miles again - and then take him back to the hotel from there. We are very excited and nervous all at the same time. Our first night together.......wow.

Meeting Miles!

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What a great afternoon!

We had a great time meeting Miles. We hung out for about an hour or so, and he never stopped moving the entire time. Now I have two justified reasons for canceling our gym membership: 1) Miles is a very big boy and 2) Miles does not sit still and is very fast. He was in very good spirits smiled and laughed quite a bit (although mostly at the stuffed Pooh and not so much at us). As you can see, he did sit in our laps for a while, but it is obvious that he is attached to both hist foster mother and father (that won't be easy for us to take him!). He loves to eat – maybe we can use that as a bribe technique? I can't say enough about how exciting this meeting was and how he is such a curious, perfect, and healthy baby! Is our house ready? Are the pets ready? Are WE ready? Not sure, really not sure, and we're as ready as we can be...we're in charge starting Thursday afternoon!

Warning: little boys in these images are actually bigger than they appear. Please view at your own risk.

Dustin









Monday, March 30, 2009

Can't Sleep Can't Sleep Can't Sleep Can't Sleep Can't Sleep

So....I committed the cardinal sin of jet-lag travel by crashing on my bed as soon as we walked into the hotel, with all of my clothes on at 6:30 pm.  Now I've been up since 3:00 am Korean time...........Today we meet Miles at 3:00 pm and need to find some way to occupy ourselves in the meantime.  We'll keep you posted!

Tiff :)

Early morning video production

The designer in me really wants to do a better job of piecing together and editing this video (and let's face it, holding the camera steady, too). I'm not a fan of the new version of iMovie, as it's quite a bit different than the older versions where everything made sense. I have more exciting and important things to worry about today. Anywho, here's the latest from when we left to when we got into the hotel. Enjoy. 

Dustin


video

We've arrived!

According to the clock on my computer, it's after 4:30 at home. Here on the other side of the world, we just survived rush hour in Seoul – between the crazy traffic, up down and around all of the buildings and the driver's inconsistent foot on the pedal, we are glad to be stationary for a while. 

The plane trip was fairly uneventful. Between the two of us, we had an entire row of four seats – it was nice to be able to stretch out. When you have 12 hours to kill and are stuck on a plane, there's not much you can do, but luckily they had a great selection of movies. I watched quite a few, but of course Tiff's watching of Twilight (again) is really the only item of true interest. Neither of us slept a whole lot during the flight, and I know I should try and sleep now, but I'm not sure how successful it will be. It's also kind of a sensory overload here, what with all of the flashing signs and all. I wish I could understand at least a little of the written language – it's so different. Imagine how Miles will feel! We're not sure if we will be able to stay with us in the hotel the night before we leave...we'll have to be sure and request that in a few hours when we meet him! 

I do have some pretty sweet video footage to post, but I can't find the outlet converter, and Tiff is sleeping (riding in the back of the van from the airport made her a little carsick). So for now, I'm checking email and watching Korean baseball (I think our high school team was better than the one I'm watching).

Dustin

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is it nerves??

These last few days have been filled with constant stomach aches and absolutely no sleep. I'm not sure if it is excitement or nerves because my life is about to change dramatically. It's crazy how you wait and wait and wait until you think you can't wait anymore, and then all of the sudden you feel like it is sprung on you.....not the doubts about getting a baby....I will NEVER doubt that Miles is supposed to be ours and the fact that I have loved him for months without ever meeting him, but I'm suddenly anxious about parenting. Until now I've lived my life for me... doing all of the the selfish things that I COULD do because I didn't have kids. Nothing has ever held me back from doing exactly what I want and when I want to do it. It is not that I will miss those things....it is that I am afraid I won't know how to give them up. People say it just comes naturally, and I would assume that it would come ultra naturally to me since I have wanted to be a parent for so long, but it is still so weird to consider.
Today we are checking out some local daycares for this fall (Septemberish) since I've decided that I am definitely going back to work then. It is weird to check them out before we even have a baby, but at the same time it is so excited to plan for Miles. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Almost ready to go!

Well, I haven't had much time to blog since we got the travel call.  Dustin and I have been frantically making travel plans and trying to really enjoy just being the two of us for now.  

Here are our official travel plans...
We will leave for Chicago on Sunday morning and fly out at noon.  We will be on the plane until Monday afternoon Korean time.  There we will be picked up by Eastern (the Korean agency) and taken to our hotel.  We are scheduled to actually meet Miles for the first time on Tuesday at 3:00p.m.  That means that we will be meeting Miles while most of you are tucked into your US beds at 11:00 p.m. on Monday night.  It is so hard to fathom that we have yet to meet this little person that has been such a huge part of my life for the last few months.  It also seems crazy that we have a scheduled time to meet our son for the first time.  

We will then stay in Korea until Friday morning when we will fly back home, only to get here Friday morning US time.  

Monday, March 23, 2009

Travel Call!

That's right! Can you believe it! We were so shocked today when Carole called us with a travel call saying that Miles is ready to come home. It looks like we will be flying out Sunday to Friday and staying at the Lotte City Hotel which is right next to the subway line we'll be taking to Eastern when we meet with Miles. We'll keep you all updated on what is going on, but for now I'm too excited to write much more!!

Tiffany

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I FORGOT!!

Oh my goodness!  I forgot to write the most important part of our entire trip!!!!

When we were waiting to get our car to come home our social worker called and gave us an update.  The agency's plan (in Korea) is to apply for Miles' visa next week and then it should be 7-10 days after that when we will get our travel call.....sooooo.... we're looking at about two weeks!  It is so exciting to have a timeline.  In the meantime we are going to go to as many movies and nice restaurants as we can!!!!  (Actually, we'll probably just rent movies and eat take-out sushi since that is just as fun to us. :)

Ups, and downs, and more ups

It has been awhile since I wrote because, well....there has been nothing much to write about unless you all want to read about my crazy "overthinking" antics and moments of despair - not pretty.

After we made the big call on Thursday our social worker called us to let us know that one of the other social workers from the agency was making a trip to Seoul and would personally check on the status of Miles. This was on Friday and it made me so happy to know that we would know something more concrete. For some reason when Monday rolled around I expected an immediate phone call from the agency and when one didn't come I became pretty sad. However, the real desperation didn't kick in until Tuesday after school when we still hadn't heard anything. Finally, after what was dangerously close to stalker"ish" laced with depression activity by your's truly, Dustin suggested we take a mini-vacation to Chicago. It was the perfect medicine. I made the decision to leave it officially in God's hands knowing that the phone call from travel would come very soon.


It has been a long time since Dustin and I have approached Chicago like tourists, and we had so much fun. We drove up Thursday after work just in time to go to the Institute of Art for their free Thursday nights. After that we checked into our hotel and got ready for dinner. We had made reservation at Japonais - a sushi restaurant. It was so delicious and fun - the perfect distraction.

On Friday morning we went out for breakfast and a bit of shopping. And of course we had to buy the essentials for Miles....we probably weren't really ready to get him anyways until we had at least one Cubs jersey for him when he came home. :)


After that we went to a Korean restaurant in the south loop called Korean Seoulfood Cafe (get the play on words there?? Very witty). We of course got the all-you-can eat buffet. I had found this place on the internet and we were really excited about it since we can't seem to find Korean food in Peoria. It was great! We had no idea what anything was because it wasn't labeled, but it was all very good. I finally asked one guy which dish was Kimchi, because apparently EVERYONE eats kimchi with every meal over there, so I felt like I had to try it.


And this last picture is of Dustin at the Korean restaurant. He's going to be so mad when he sees that I put it up, but I laughed so hard when I saw it that I want everyone to be able to enjoy it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Meetings, The Dark Knight, and Phone Calls.

Well, last night we called Korea for the second time. I had a couple of different meetings for Venue in the evening so I didn't end up getting home until after 8 pm. Instead of going to bed like I had planned we had the brilliant idea to kill a few hours by watching our latest Netflix movie. It went a little like this.

Tiffany: What can we do for two hours?....What if we watch Dark Knight since we won't have time to this weekend?
Dustin: That's a great idea. But it is probably only two hours long, so lets not start it until 10.
Tiffany: Great. I'll go upstairs and do school work in the meantime.

BTW: Dark Knight IS NOT only 2 hours. It is the movie that keeps on pretending to end, but never ends. Finally, at 11:59, with 50 minutes still left in the movie, and two possible endings already conspiring, we decided to stop the movie and call Korea.

So, the whole point of this post is to let you all know that our paperwork is all safely in Korea and just waiting for Miles to get his passport - Then we will get the call. We are VERY excited/relieved and it was well worth staying up late two nights in a row.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Late night shenanigans

For those of you that are on the edge of you seat with anticipation.....I did make it until midnight last night. It was rough, since it is about three hours past my normal bedtime, but luckily I had tons to do for Venue and school, so it kept me quite busy. Dustin didn't really get home until 11 from Springfield so he was wide awake. So at midnight we settled in, opened up Skype and made the long-distance phone call across continents. The woman on the other end said that they have someone in to answer these phone calls on Wednesdays (at least that's what I thought she said). So, defeated we shut down the computer and went to bed. Then as I was lying there it dawned on me that it IS Wednesday in Korea. So I got back up and made Dustin call the second time so that she wouldn't recognize my voice. Dustin was all nervous because he couldn't understand her the first time I called (she was speaking English). So, he made the call...... Apparently they don't have anyone in ON Wednesday that can answer the questions we had (ONLY ON WEDNESDAYS!). So.... I'm not sure if I can make it a second night in a row, but I'll have to. Hopefully good news tonight!
Tiff

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I guess it's okay for now....


Now, if you know anything about me and my pets you know that I have one particular cat that drives me crazy. He is constantly bothering me, constantly doing things that he shouldn't do, and constantly trying to escape outside the sliding door. Mo and I have always had a love/hate relationship... until recently. All of the sudden I wake up in the middle of the night and he is curled up at my feet - and I don't even kick him off like I used to. What does this have to do with Miles, or adoption, or ANYTHING?? Well, my relationship with Mo changed about two days ago when I walked into Miles' room and saw this....

Now, my first instinct was to swat him off of Miles' changing table 1. because I hate cat hair, and am sure that Miles will too, and 2. because it seems unsanitary for Mo to be lounging on Miles' changing table. However, my attitude changed quickly once I saw how happy Mo was. Here he is probably thinking that we put together this special little soft bed for him at his favorite height (which is anything off the floor) and put a fresh terry liner on it, and then set it to bask in the sunlight from the window. I guess someone might as well be using the changing table since Miles is halfway around the world still..... just until he gets here though. :)

On a side note, today we had some news that is neither encouraging or discouraging....... but very frustrating. I was told by our social worker to call the US State Department to check on the status of Miles' visa approval, and to see if it has been sent to Korea. Basically, what we are waiting for now is for his Visa approval to be sent to Korea, and at the same time for Eastern (the adoption agency in Korea) to get his passport. Once those two things happen, then Eastern will go to the embassy to get his visa approval and it will be just a matter of days before he will be ready to travel. Well, the curveball we were thrown today was that the date on our approval that went to the National Visa Center seems to be incorrect SOOOO we have to call the Embassy in Korea. Now, for you mathematicians out there, Korea is 14 hours ahead of us and we can only call the Embassy between 2-3:30 Korean Time - which is midnight to 1:30 am our time. Right now I'm trying to decide if I go to bed and get back up, or just power through the remaining four hours of my night and stay up......I'll keep you posted on what I decide. :) In the meantime, keep praying that Miles gets to come home soon, or at least for the sanity of his soon-to-be-mother.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I hope Miles likes books...


Okay, we may have gone a tad bit overboard with the book buying and book gifts, but we've really been buying childrens books since we've been married. I know it seems weird, but I went through a phase where I was sure I wanted to be a children's book writer and I worked in a daycare surrounded by clever little funny books that I knew I wanted to own. In fact, these are probably only about 2/3 of the childrens books that we actually have in our house. If Miles is anything like his dad, then I'll need to buy stock in Amazon. If nothing else, he can at least chew on them. :) All of the board books and hardcovers have been given to us especially for Miles by friends and family. They are all so cute. I wrote the names of people that have given us the books so that Miles will always know who thought of him when they picked it out.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seriously.......can someone do something about this?




Alright....it is official. I am OVER waiting. Yesterday I stayed home from school because I have something really weird going on with my back that seems to progressively get worse everyday. But that's not why I'm writing on here....I'm writing on here today because I spent the entire day yesterday pretending like I was leaving for Korea in a matter of days. I spent all day looking up flights and hotels, reading other people's adoption blogs that have already gone to Korea, figuring out the exchange rate, figuring out the electrical outlets, creating a packing list, and washing 24 clothe diapers - 3 times. It felt good... it was therapeutic in a way, and I appreciate therapy. I have been in this funk for a few days now and all I can pin it down to is the fact that Miles turned nine months old on February 24th - in Korea of course.
I think the hardest part is not knowing what is going on. I have made the unintended decision that I have unfortunately or fortunately approached much of my life with. I have chosen to not educate myself on this whole process anymore than necessary. I didn't realize I was doing this until I started reading postings in a yahoo group I belong to. Everyone has timelines all written out, and know exactly where all of their paperwork is located, and are using all of these crazy acronyms for things that I've never even heard of. The scary part is that more than half of them are using the same agency as us. My friend Heidi told me that being a mother is the most humbling job..... it is the first time that no one is there evaluating you, telling you if you are doing it right..... perhaps this is the beginning of that feeling? When I approached this it was like this, "Okay, I KNOW that I'm going to have a baby at the end of this, so all I can do is leave it in God's hand from here on." That seemed wise at the time, and I still believe that things will only happen at God's pace, but I'm starting to wonder if I need to make the same calls to the NVCthat everyone else talks about making daily (I don't even know what that is..... another one of those crazy acronyms).

Okay, enough lamenting...... The real reason I'm writing is because in my Korea planning day yesterday I took some photos that I can share. This first one is of all of the diapers that I washed and put together. I just think they're super cute. For those of you not familiar, they have little absorbant inserts that come out when you wash them, and they are completely waterproof - no plastic pants!

Here is also a movie I made of Miles' room yesterday so that our out-of-town family and friends could see what we've done. All I'm waiting on is the mobile that I am in the process of making. :) Now, with the showing of the video I want everyone to be fully aware that I am aware that I will never see this room like this again...that's another reason to show this now. I just don't want anyone to think that I have an unrealistic view of babies.  By the time any of you get out here, it may never be the same. :)


video
Also, in January we sent Miles a little care package when we found out that another couple was leaving soon for Korea and would be able to deliver it to him. In the package we included a stuffed monkey that Rachel and Isaac bought for him as soon as we got our referral (it was our first baby gift!), and a photo album of all of my family and Dustin's family so that he could look at the pictures, and we also included a card. Now the card is an interesting story because we were trying to think of something that we could record our voices into. Someone mentioned a Build-A-Bear, but the one in Peoria just closed - little did I know they opened another one at a different location. Since we couldn't do that, someone else mentioned the Hallmark Cards that you can record your voice into. I thought that was a great idea, so I went to Hallmark after school and picked one out. I explained to the women what I wanted and so we looked at Valentines Day cards. There was a perfect one sitting there that talked about being a family and loving each other and such. So I bought it and paid. I took it all of the way home and then Dustin and I proceeded to say a little message to Miles. It only took half a dozen times because Dustin kept getting all sentimental. :)   Finally we saved our message and played it make to ourselves....... only to find out that the end of the message was met with a loud and boisterous rendition of "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge. We laughed SO HARD. After these well-thought and sentimental words that we had left lovingly for our son, there is an obnoxious top hit from 1979 blaring out of the card. There is no way Miles' foster mother is going to play that for him more than once, and will probably worry about the sanity of his future parents. Anyways, this is a picture of the stuff that we sent to him. Just ignore the junk around the image...for some reason I didn't think to clear off the table. :)



So I'm sure I'll probably write in this blog more regularly since I have found it to be comforting. If you've made it this far in the post, then that is pretty impressive - congratulations on persevering.

Tiffany