Sunday, January 30, 2011

what's been going on?

I feel like I have not written in awhile, almost a week! So what have I been up to? Oh, I ordered Annelise's crib for starters. I can't wait till it comes in. It is espresso colored. I also bought some gifts for people we will meet in Korea. Social workers, foster dad, the next baby our foster family will keep. I am still hunting for the perfect foster mom gift. I want her to love it, but not really knowing her makes it hard. I have also been gathering info about what to pack, and what to do in Korea. I am also trying to compose a list of keepsakes to bring home for us, baby girl and some goodies for family. I keep reading Korean socks are amazing? And pj's too! There is a whole lot to do to get ready for Annelise, and I am happy it is keeping me busy. I really pray our 1600 gets approved fast, so this wait does not get too long. I just want my baby home! :) I will share pics of her nursery when my crib comes, it is so fun to decorate in pinks!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Oh my GOODNESS, we have legals in from Korea. It only took 11 days. I have been praying and praying those would come in in two weeks, and look at what a miracle, less than two!!! One step closer to my sweet sweet baby. Thank you God!
Legals is a transfer of guardianship from Korea to our agency. Now we go stateside and the 1-600 is on it's way to be approved. Now if you will pray with me for a fast approval and that we get a super nice, understanding officer, that wants us to get our girl home as fast as we do. Heaven help me, I am so excited!!!!!

Twas the night before referral.....

I don't think I have shared about the night before I got "the" best phone call of my life! I was rocking Anderson to sleep, and, as I always did, I was thinking about our baby on the other side of the world. But this night was very different. I felt a strange peace come over me. I actually was contemplating the fact that maybe she was not even born yet. I thought to myself "if my referral does not come until June, I will be ok. The daughter God meant for us to have will find her way to us." Yes, readers, for the first time in 8 loooong months, I gave it up. I surrendered our girl to God. I realized our adoption was so much bigger than my timeline. I was just finally ok with the wait. After months of agony, I realized it had gotten me nowhere but frantic. We had just spent the weekend in Georgia visiting family, and I had actually started telling family we may not even have her by next Christmas. (lol) And the craziest thing, after I had totally felt this amazing peace come over me I had this thought "I bet now our referral will come in tomorrow. I have totally surrendered our child to God."
11:14 am the next morning, my phone rang with the news that we had a 6 month old daughter, alive and well, residing in Seoul, South Korea. How great is my God?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Seven months old today!

Happy Seven Month Birthday Annelise! To be honest again, this day is hard on me. I am actually missing my daughter's life. I did not quite understand how hard it is to have your child's picture and not be there for big milestones until it happened to me. I understood it was hard, but sometimes you do not fully "get" something until you are in the situation. To those parents that have to wait and wait to travel, oh man, I get it now. We are with SWS, so hopefully we will not miss too many more "month days". We ordered a cake to celebrate today (strawberry shortcake!) and i will take a pic of it tonight when we blow out a candle in her honor. We love you sweet girl. Mommy prays there will not be many more months of your life that go by without me there.
Here is another favorite picture of my daughter. We were so blessed to receive a huge stack of them. I have lots to share! As my friend Debra put it, "she is saving her smiles for when you get her!" I like the sound of that!

Sent with love.....

Last Friday, I sent Annelise's care package to SWS in Korea. I have to be totally honest, it was emotional to send. I had to hold back tears when I filled out the customs form, because I was realizing she would be trying on these outfits, and squeezing her dolly without me there. But sending this little package of love was still really fun to do. Our agency is not quite as strict as some agencies on size of package, so I stuffed everything into two gallon ziplock baggies. It was a tight fit!!

Two cameras that will hopefully get filled up with pictures of our girl, and goodies for the foster parents, plus a letter to them. How do you thank someone who has loved your baby? Hard to put into words. The letter was in english, unfortunately. I am hoping the social worker will translate for them. Any tips on getting a letter translated for when we travel?

A dolly, that says "my first valentines day." Sadly, we will miss her first day, but I wanted her to have a little gift from us to celebrate a day all about love! And a sweet little elephant we have been sleeping with, so it has our scent. And a picture book with our pictures, so hopefully she will recognize us.

Two cute outfits, socks and a sleeper. Love all the pink!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another sweet glimpse

I can't figure out what to say about this picture without sounding like I am totally saying my child is the cutest child in the universe. So I guess I should say it, my daughter is the cutest baby girl I have ever laid eyes on. :) I guess that is my right to say as a Mommy. These photos I have are glimpses into her little life. She just looks soooooo sweet and I just want to jump onto a plane to Korea now and scoop her up. I just feel like I need to pinch myself each time I gaze at all my photos of Annelise. And I offer up thanks to her birthmom for bringing this little girl into the world. What a miracle.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ummmm, some changes going on

Well, if you notice the title to my blog, you will see that it looks a little different. Yes, we changed her name. Why? There are several reasons. One being, every time I looked at her sweet picture, "Leah" just did not fit. I was losing sleep over it, and sleep , my friends, is very precious to me. Then there is the meaning of Leah "weary one." That was really bugging me. Her given Korean name "Bitna" means shining. Her birthmother wanted so bad for her to have a wonderful life, with a very beautiful name and a special meaning. "Weary one" was not settling well with my soul. And then there is the Bible Story. Leah was not picked first in that story, and with my girl being adopted, I was having serious reservations with the implications of that. Now, I do love the name Leah. I think it is beautiful, and everyone I know with that name is wonderfully sweet. It just does not fit "my" girl. So , drummrolllll please, our little Bitna will forever be named ANNELISE BITNA. Meaning "consecrated to god" and "shining". We have PRAYED for our little girl for years. This meaning is very special to us, and I think her birthmother would be proud. As a teensy bonus, my name is Elisabeth Ann. Annelise is a part of me, and she is a part of her birthmother. I think that is very very special. And my little girl should have a name that forever shows her the love of two Mothers. I hope the name fits her, and looking at her, and reading about her life thus far, it totally does. We love you sweet Annelise Bitna.
On a side note, the "cloud 9" factor as I have dubbed it, has worn off. Today at the post office, weighing Annelise's care package fully brought me to the realization that MY daughter is halfway around the world, and I will not be there for her to enjoy the goodies. I am missing her life. Please pray with me that my sweet girl's paperwork moves fast so that we can go pick her up as soon as possible. I am missing her terribly, and so very aware of all that I am missing. A piece of my heart now resides in Seoul.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One of my favorite pictures.....

Isn't Leah adorable in her red penguin hat? Her little outfit says "Christmas Baby" Definately a hat girl!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meet Annelise!

Here she is!!! My beautiful little girl. We could not be any prouder, more photos to come, soon. I am so in love with this little face. This picture was the first one I ever saw. You can tell how gentle she is. We are so blessed!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Care package

I am trying to get a care package together for my Leah and instead of looking thru all the blogs in bloggy land to get ideas, I thought it would be better time management (my Christmas tree is still up in my living room! - must get down) if I told you all what I have and tell me what I need to add!
So far I have:
3 outfits and one sleeper (too much?)
A three pack a soft socks (or should i do a pair of robeez?)
2 disposable Kodak cameras
Jelly Belly package for foster parents (made in USA)
A Valentine soft dolly for Leah
A pink picture book for her to hold with our photos in it
A soft pink lovey that we have been sleeping with so it has our scent
I think I will also add a Starbucks viva coffee pack and altoids for foster family
What do you think?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Emotions of seeing Annelise Bitna

Before I forget the emotions I felt the night of our referral, January 3rd, I thought I had better blog about it! I basically called every family member I could think of that day, and cried on and off, skipped, danced around and forgot to eat completely. So when 10pm rolled around, and I knew that "tomorrow" January 4th at 11am was the day I was going to see Leah's picture for the first time, I figured I had better go to sleep. I passed out almost as soon as my head hit the pillow (emotionally drained) and slept deep until 2am. When I woke, I was totally wide awake realizing that today would be the day I would see what the daughter I had prayed for for 1 year, 3 months and 8 days would look like. Then my mind started racing. I tried to go back to sleep, but, that did not happen for a long long time. Anderson woke up somewhere around 3am so I put him our bed and snuggled him. Then he decided to keep me company and rolled around for awhile till I decided he needed to go back to sleep. I made him some milk, fed him and he fell back asleep around 4. I also drank a big glass, hoping it would knock me out. I think i fell back asleep around 5ish and woke up again at 6am, totally ecstatic it was kinda daylight. I pretty much lept out of bed and flew to our coffee maker. I had to dress the boys and myself fast, because we had decided to drive them over an hour to my sister in law's house for a spend the night party with cousins, then drive over another hour to see our baby. After we dropped them off, my stomach really started churning. That hour and 30 minute drive from her house to our agency was loooooong. I really think I have never been that nervous in my life!! We FINALLY got there, I jumped out of the car before Daniel could park and raced inside ahead of him. (haha) Slow poke! He caught up inside the agency and we did not have to wait but a minute and we saw our social worker. She ushered us back into a conference room, sat us down and told us a few things about Bitna. She then pulled out a big stack of photos and laid them out for us. The first picture I saw of her I am looking at right now. She has a little smile and is staring right at the camera. I immediately started crying. I just loved her, plain and simple. This little girl is who I have prayed for and cried for, yearned for and hoped for, for so so long. She did not look necessarily familiar to me, but she was mine and I would have fought off a lion to protect her. Now, after 4 days of staring at all her photos, she looks very familiar to me, and I have memorized every detail of her sweet face. It is hard to explain what it is like to see your child for the first time, in photos, not real life. I hesitate to say it was so much more special than the boys births, because it was not. But it was much much different. Almost filled with more emotion, if that is humanly possible. I think the anticipation builds up with adoption, and perhaps it is God himself that places the love for a child not born of you in your heart very very early, so that you might see a picture of a child you have never seen, and love that child with your whole heart. I think God, who adopted us all, plays a very very big role in adoption. This little girl I cherish. I have her in every room of my house, even my bathroom. I don't want to go a minute without studying her face. All these months of waiting, and now here I am. It feels like a dream come true. I have not forgotten the hard, hard wait. But I see now WHY I had it. This tiny little girl was born to be our daughter. All these months of waiting have prepared me to love her like I do. Thanks be to Heaven for such a gift.
And I promise, just as soon as our agency receives our packet, you will all see her sweet little face!

Acceptance paperwork SENT!

WOOOHOOOOOOO I sent off the mountain of acceptance paperwork this morning! I was practically skipping out of the UPS store, after showing every person who I saw her pictures. Then the boys and I went out for pizza to celebrate and bought Leah Bitna the cutest hairbow/headband to send in her care package. It matches this sweet little fleece outfit I am sending her. I am hoping her foster mom takes her picture in the outfit and bow and I get to see it on her!!!!!
One step closer!!!! Next up, waiting on Legals from Korea. All I do now is wait for travel call. We are thinking March or April, but it depends on how fast Korea and the U.S. processes her papers. I am just finding out if I can show pictures today or if I have to wait until Monday. Hopefully those will be up for you all later today.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Baby sista

What Anderson calls baby Leah Bitna "baby sista". So cute! I put one of her pictures in a ziploc baggie and he has been carrying it around looking at her sweet face. Same with Jack. They are so excited. Except Jack is worried that her lack of hair does not make her look like a girl. Lol. I told him she just needs a big bow!!! He is so funny. He told me he did not want to hurt her feelings, so he would tell her she looked like a girl. I about died laughing. (don't worry, she definately looks girly!) The boys seem to be taking the news well and getting excited. I think Jack was a bit shocked she looks Korean, even though we have been showing him korean baby pictures for a long time now. He said "but she does not look like you?" Then once he thought about it he decided that was ok and she needed a bow in her hair. :) I love my boys!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Referral

Alrighty, I have a few mintues to share about our referral! It was Monday morning, January 3rd and I knew it was our 8 month anniversary day of our dossier going to Korea. I was trying hard not to call our agency, but figured it had been 2 months since I had called them, and it would not hurt just to see if they thought my referral would be coming in soon. I actually braced myself for the worst. (as in you may be waiting months longer...) The agency head, S, was not at her desk and it went to voicemail. I left a message with what I wanted and my cell number. This was around 9:15am. I had dropped Jack off at preschool and Anderson and I were on our way for groceries. We got groceries, got home and I decided that my cabinets we store food in had to be cleaned out. We had just gotten in from visiting family the night before, and i had suitcases strewn everywhere, i have no idea why i just had to clean out our cabinets. So I pulled everything out, and had it all sitting on our kitchen counters. Anderson needed a diaper change, as in, right away. So we went upstairs, and I remembered to take my phone with me. As soon as I got him on a clean diaper I jumped up to wash my hands. RING RING RING! (11:14am) I turned around, mentally grossed out because i had not made it to wash my hands but wanting to talk to the agency too bad to care. It was S, and i was happy she was calling me back, but in NO WAY thought it was my referral. She asked me how our Christmas went, I told her nice things then got quiet so she could tell me her guess as to how much longer we would have to wait. "Well, I got your message, looked at my calander to do my predictions, and my phone buzzed from the front desk. (me: wondering where she was going with this!) "A referral just came in SILENCE and it is YOURS!" I cried and cried. I said "seriously?" thru tears. I could not stop crying. I thought to ask her her birthday, but first I asked if it was a little girl. She said YES! More crying by me. (Poor S!) She told me her birthday (June 22) and that she is adorable and they have been passing her pictures around the office. I just kept crying. lol! She told me to get off the phone and call my husband and she would call our satelite agency and set up our meeting to view the pictures the next day. So I called Daniel. Poor Daniel. I was still crying. He thought one of the boys had been really hurt and he could not understand me. Then he lost the call. Poor Daniel. He finally got back thru and realized I was happy and we have our baby! The rest of the day is honestly a blur. I don't remember driving to pick up Jack from preschool. It took me 6 hours to get those food items back in the pantry. I was in total shock. I cried on and off ALL day. I got down on my knees and thanked the Lord my wait was over and I have a daughter in Korea. It was a day I will never ever forget. We had a daughter, I just had no idea what she looked like! More on that night and the next day soon..........
And I just have to add how crazy it is that I had not called in 8 weeks and the morning I call, my referral is delivered to our agency mintues after I call???? I think the front desk receptionist was wondering what telephone line connection to God I have! :)
*** And another, really neat thing to share. Go look at my post from the day Leah Bitna was born, June 22, 2010. I have the picture re-posted of us mailing our application to adopt. And read what I said. Amazing! "I wonder how her birthmother is coping" I know that day was so so hard for her birthmother. I was obviously thinking about her and praying for her. I am so glad. I know any extra prayers sent her way were needed. Leah was very very loved by her birthmother, and I find that an answer to my prayers for Leah.

So what's next?

I thought I should do a post on where we go from here! I am filling out acceptance paperwork today and trying to get everything together that we owe Korea. :) Once our agency receives our acceptance packet, they send them to SWS in Korea, and we wait for Korea to send us "LEGALS." Legals are the petition to transfer guardianship to our agency. Once our agency receives Legals, they file that copy with CIS along with our 1600 form (petition to classify an orphan as an immediate relative) and several other forms that i am still trying to figure out. That is as far into the process as my mind can take me right now. Once I get this paperwork in, I will give a post about the rest of the process. I know the average it takes from referral to travel call is 8-12 weeks.
I will post pictures of our girl as soon as I get this acceptance paperwork in. I am required to wait on that (sorry!). But she is amazing, just so you know. :)
And I wanted to give you a tidbit of information on her in her file. "Bitna is gentle, girlish and calm" How lovely is that? I just love her name.
I owe you all a big post about the official referral, and I will try to get to that tonight. Monday, January 3rd was an amazing day, well worth every tear, prayer, sigh, and worry I have gone thru over the past 15 months 7 days that led me to Monday. And, guess what? Bitna was the 1st referral of 2011 for our agency!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I have looked upon the face of my daughter

And it felt like Heaven. Yes, praise God our referral came yesterday and today we saw her. Leah Bitna you are ours, and we love you. Bitna means "shining" and the name was given to her by her birthmother. She was born in Seoul on June 22. She is 6 months old. With beautiful lips and chubby cheeks, and very little hair! Oh how my heart is happy. Every step of this journey has led to her. I pray she comes home by April. Thank you Lord for this indescribable gift. We have a daughter!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Most awesome bible verse ever

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.

Psalms 68:5-6


About Me

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We are waiting to adopt our fourth child from the U.S.A. I am a momma to three other awesome children and wife to the love of my life. My boys are homegrown and my daughter is adopted from S. Korea . We cannot wait to meet our next baby!