Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teach Me Something Tuesday: Traditional Korean Clothing - The Hanbok

Traditional Korean clothing has its roots extending back at least as far as the Three Kingdoms Period (57 B.C. - 668 A.D.), as evidenced by wall paintings in tombs dating from this period. The Korean hanbok represents one of the most visable aspects of Korean culture.

The top part called a jeogori is blouse-like with long sleeves with the men's version being longer, stretching down to the waist. Women wear skirts (chima) while men wear baggy pants (paji). Commoners wore white, except during festivals and special occassions such as weddings. Clothes for the upper classes were made of bright colors and indicated the wearer's social status. Various accessories such as foot gear, jewelry, and headdresses or hair pins completed the outfit.

I can't wait to dress little Zoe in her traditional hanbok!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Homestudy Approved!

Okay, since we all know we're doing this SO backwards, we had to do our homestudy with a quickness once we were matched with Zoe. Well, 37 days later, I am happy to report that 1.) it wasn't as fast as I had hoped (I was shooting for 30 days), but 2.) we are DONE! It's typed, turned in and approved by Holt (USA).

The Korean Program Director at Holt prefers that the social workers e-mail her the copy first, so she can look over it and suggest any corrections without having to wait for the mail to get it there and then the social worker makes the corrections, signs, notarizes and mails it to Holt! We got word today that it was received via e-mail and approved, so now we're waiting on that official copy to get to Oregon so we can officially sign the acceptance papers of Zoe's referral! A quick sign of those and overnight them back (Praise God the hubs works for FedEx here in Memphis) and the Legals should arrive next. Once we have those legals in hand, it is time to kick those prayers into HIGH GEAR as we face the I600!

They've recently made some changes in the I600 process and let's just say it hasn't exactly been running smoothly for other adoptive families (any shocker here, we are dealing with the US government, after all)! I hope that with all the recent mess, that they've worked most of the kinks out. One poor lady I know has been waited 14 weeks for approval. I don't know if I could handle that as beautifully as she has.

This was a long LONG 37 days and I'm SO GLAD this step is finally over so we can move on! I need that baby girl home! Hang on sweet girl, mama & daddy are coming for you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teach Me Something Tuesday: The Holt Reception Center

Most of the babies in Korea who are placed for adoption are placed in a foster home. Zoe was initially in a foster home in her birth-city of De Jong. Zoe needed to be moved into Seoul as Holt needs to keep the babies close to allow for their monthly medical checks (Well Baby Checks) and other important appointments and so they can monitor the babies as needed. At the time, a foster family was not available in Seoul.

Zoe was moved to the Holt Reception Center in February of this year. The Reception Center is on the 3rd floor of the Holt building and a unique place with fabulous, loving caregivers to tend to the babies. The RC has 2 rooms: one being for the young babies and the other for babies who are a little older. Here the babies get the loving care they need, one-on-one attention from their assigned caregiver.

Admittedly, I was a little concerned about Zoe being moved to what I had envisioned as an orphanage with no one person to love on her and give her the attention that she needs. However, after talking with other adoptive parents, they assured me that Zoe is being extremely well cared for in a clean and stimulating environment. Some of the babies receive physical therapies or other therapies they may need while they are at the Reception Center. They even give the babies "baby massages". One adoptive mom told me it was more like a "baby spa". The babies get lots of playtime with toys, tummy time, etc. and they sing songs to them and play with the babies continually. Check out this caregiver comforting this baby in this photo.

The blog that I found this photo on said: "In the photo above is a gliding thingy that the women used to soothe the children to help get them to sleep. While they glided, they sang to them and patted them on the back very firmly. I almost felt like it was more like a whack on the back than a pat, but the babies seemed to like it. It was comforting to see that the women caring for the children showed such love for them."

What comforting things to hear from a Korean adoptee who never knew an adoptive parent would be reading her blog. :)

Another cool thing about Zoe being at the RC is that when a family goes to pick up their baby at Holt, they get to visit the babies in the RC. I frequent the adoption forums through our agency and I've already had 2 moms send us pics of Zoe from when they visited the Reception Centers when they were picking up their children. Both of these moms went before we were matched with her, but they took pictures of our precious little one. When I shared that we were matched with her, they started sending the pictures of our little Korean cutie! There are a few moms planning to travel in the next couple of weeks and they are going to pay our little Miss a visit and give her a big hug for us and tell her we're coming for her. Here is a picture we received from a family who visited the Reception Center in February. She sent me this picture the day after we were matched. What a huge blessing!

Sometimes Korean adoptees return to Seoul to find out more about their birth-land and about their adoption and to experience Korea. Since being matched with Zoe, we've found 2 such blogs of Korean adoptees who were visiting the Holt Reception Center where Miss Zoe has made her appearance. It is such a blessing to receive so many updates and pictures of our girl! That is how we received the picture below.

If you want to read the entire blog-post, you can do that HERE. The blog owner noted Zoe's wild hair. Ya' think???

About 2 weeks later, another adoptive mom stumbled upon THIS BLOG and sure enough there she was! Seriously, as if there was any question if this was her or not. Her hair is a dead-give away...and those cheeks! She is too cute. I think we are all ready to move to Seoul until she is ready to come home. Here she is having a little playtime on the floor.

Once we have filed Zoe's acceptance paperwork, we will be able to send her a care package with some goodies (like a brush and some hair clips) and photos of our family. We plan to send it with another family who is traveling to get their little one. The travel calls have been pouring in lately, and that date for us can't come soon enough! I love this little peanut and can't wait to have her in my arms!

Oh! I almost forgot, the Reception Center is always in need of baby things, so when we travel, we plan to bring a suitcase full of donations (like rice cereal is a HUGE need, baby care items like diapers, wipes, baby wash, etc.). We will use the empty suitcase to bring home our Korean treasures and Zoe's belongings. If any of you happen to run across any baby item deals, grab them up and we'll take them with us to donate to this wonderful place who's caring for our baby girl!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Hope is Fading

Another Adoptive Mom shared this today and it really touched me.
Remember to pause the music on the blog before pushing play so you can hear it (scroll down and on the right). Enjoy! -paula

Hope is Fading from Allan Rosenow on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Well Baby Check and a Blog Appearance

Every month Zoe goes to the Holt Clinic for her Well Baby Check. She is seen by a doctor and they check her out, get her measurements, weight and all that fun stuff. It really is such a blessing to have an update on our girl and to see how she is growing and progressing.

Zoe was born at 30 weeks, so she was 2 1/2 months premature. When we received her file in April, we received her April Well Baby Check along with the rest of her medical information. At that time, she weighed 6 kg (13.7 pounds) and was 62.5 cm (24.606 inches) in height. She was in the less than 3rd percentile in weight and 10th percentile in height. She was also accessed to be at approx. 3 month developmental level. (That is to be expected for a baby who was only supposed to be 3 1/2 months old.) At that time, she was noted to lift her head, pull her chest up while bearing weight on her arms, and bearing some weight on her legs. She also was noted to suck her hands, follow an object with her eyes and put her hands together (a fine motor skill). She also was smiling, cooing, and laughing.

We were matched with Zoe on May 20th and received her Well Baby Check (WBC) the next day along with 2 new pics of her. At that time, she had grown a bit to 64 cm (25.196 inches) which is less than 10% in height and her weight was 6.6 kg (14.55 pounds) which is also less than the 10th percentile. She had begun creeping (but not crawling), could grasp a large object and transfer it from one hand to another, sucks her hand, turn to a ratting sound and a voice. That WBC also noted that she was saying "umma" (mommy) at crying. I was so excited that she had progressed so much in just one month. At this time, the doctor assessed her to be at 6 month developmental level (which she was 6 months)! WOO HOO! My sweet friend, Mary Leigh said "Oh, she says mama, she just needed to know you were coming." That made me cry a little. Emotions were running pretty high at that point. We had only known she was "officially" ours for less than 24 hours and that time was filled with excitement, but knowing your child is 1/2 way around the world is not something you can ever prepare yourself for. I wanted her home right then!

This month, our little Korean cutie has grown even more! She has grown to 67.5 cm in height (26.57 inches) which is more than 25th percentile. She is weighing in at a whopping 7.0 kg (15.43 pounds) which is still in the less than 10th percentile. She is rolling over, creeping (still not crawling, but let's not rush her on that one), reaches out for a large object, transfers objects from hand to hand, prefers mother (her caregiver as opposed to the nurse or doctor who are examining her), responds to her name (Eun-ha) and plays peek-a-boo. She also is imitating speech and speaking single syllables. She is accessed to be at a 6-7 month developmental level (which that is what she is), so grow big girl grow.

It's a little bitter-sweet to receive a WBC. Part of me is SO THRILLED to get these reports on our girl every month. It's GREAT that she has such wonderful medical care in Korea. It is definitely one of the many things we love about the Korean program; the medical care certainly sets it apart!!! I just wish I could be there to see her grow and progress. I hate that I am missing it, but it has helped me to not take for granted all the moments I have with my boys and all the moments we will have with Zoe in the future.

One thing that always makes me smile is each month, the doctor writes a description of their physical appearance. He said Zoe looked "cute and fine". Oh, she's cute alright. I just want him to note the hair in one of them. I will totally LOL if he writes "cute and fine, but the hair is out of control".

Speaking of hair, another adoptive mom was browsing through some Korean blogs and stumbled upon one with Zoe's picture in it. The hair is totally crazy! We are getting a care package together to send her and you better believe that some rubber-bands and clippies will be included. Check her out!

She is a cutie. I have to admit, I love those chubby little cheeks. I can't wait to kiss them (and fix her hair). I also have to admit that I was a little surprised that she is only in the 10% in weight because she looks like a chunk to me. We are so in love with her and we can't wait to have her home.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teach Me Something Tuesday: I'll be ok as long as it is a #18 at every place we eat

Ok, it looks like "Teach Me Something Tuesday" is up to me this time. (yeah, me Michael) I'm not much of writer outside of computer code, but I'll take a stab at this. In order to comply with full disclosure laws, or whatever, some of this information will come from wikipedia; the rest will be made up by me.

Thus far, my Korean dinning experience is limited to once, a few weeks ago, when Bates (and his mom and dad) treated our family to some fine dinning at Seoul Garden in Nashville. What I had that night is what we'll learn about today: Bulgogi. Traditionally, Bulgogi is a Korean dish made from marinated BBQed beef (or chicken or pork). I cheated that night and had the chicken, because almost 99% of the time, I get chicken at whatever restaurant we go to. I guess it's just habit by now.

What did it taste like? Well, like chicken of course. It was good, and I borrowed some hot sauce from Nick (Bates's dad) to spice it up a bit.

Paula did have the beef Bulgogi, and I tried it. It tasted like a beef flavored version of the chicken.

For the rest of the meal, we shared (as is the Korean custom) the sides of cabbage kimchi, radish kimchi, eggs of some sort, some smoky stuff that was between jello and hard boiled egg whites in texture, and other things that I tried but could not identify, and of course rice. It was kinda neat trying new things. I was actually more adventurous that Paula, which is odd considering my "domestic" palate.

Anyway, that's about all I have for now. Thanks for playing along. (and yes this counts as Tuesday, because I started the post before midnight)

Friday, June 11, 2010

T-shirt Sales

We've partnered with Adoption Bug and have officially launched our t-shirt fundraiser. The great thing about Adoption Bug is they have awesome t-shirts already designed and ready to ship when you place your order! The site of our store is: http://www.adoptionbug.com/babysloan/ or click here Check out these 6 awesome designs!!!

147 million orphans (on a white shirt)
147 million orphans (on a black shirt)
Hope, Joy, Peace (on a brown shirt)
Family (on a white shirt)
Faith, Hope, Love in English and Korean (on a white shirt)
Faith, Hope, Love in English and Korean (on a brown shirt)

Visit our store and place your order today. The commission that we make from the sales of these shirts will go to pay our adoption agency fees. Thanks for checking them out and supporting us as we bring home our baby girl.

~michael and paula

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Teach Me Something Tuesday: Wedding Ducks

It's officially June and thus, wedding season. I thought I should include a wedding-themed Teach Me Something Tuesday. One of the things that we want to buy when we are in Korea is a set of wedding ducks. Well, we'll probably buy 4 sets: one for us, one for Zoe and one set for each of our boys. We are excited to fully-embrace Zoe's Korean culture and keep up some of the Korean traditions for our family.

So, let's talk, wedding ducks. The Korean wedding ducks are the most popular wedding favors and have a special meaning. They represent the bride and the groom and after the wedding, they are placed somewhere in the couples house and their position tells of the couples marital state. Nose to nose means the relationship is good, tail to tail means they are probably having a tiff.

I can't wait to find the perfect place in our home for our wedding ducks and I'll save the kids for them when they are older and give them to them on their wedding days.

Friday, June 4, 2010

This makes my heart smile!

This picture of Zoe was updated the day that she was matched with our family! It makes me really happy to see that sweet face and those precious words. Hang on baby girl, we're coming for you! We love you more and more each day and can't wait to have you in our arms!
Love, Daddy, Mommy & your two big brothers

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Harvest

I posted this on our facebook page (Bringing Home Baby Sloan), but I thought I should share it here too because it really struck a cord with us.

We are blessed to go to an amazing church that teaches uncompromising truths while offering compassion for people. It was quite a journey to finally landing at Highpoint Church, but for the first time in a long time, we know we have found our home. We've been at HP since October 2008 and the worship is unparalleled and the teaching is too. Walking away each week, we feel challenged and encouraged. This week was no exception.

Our lead pastor was teaching his final sermon in the series "Forgotten Jesus: Rediscovering the Untamed Savior". This week's message was "Move from Cautious to Courageous". Okay, well, this was us as we began this adoption journey to say the least! We're not ones who normally jump right into anything. We research and plan and prepare. God was asking us to do something bold. Crazy to some. It doesn't make sense, but He was calling us to it and we (hesitantly and even with a little reluctance) said 'okay God, we trust you' and began this journey. It certainly wasn't a cautious invitation; it was a courageous invitation!

One of the things that really resonated with us was the verse: Matthew 9:37 "The harvest is great, but the workers are few". There are many harvests that can be worked, but a huge one is the harvest of the hearts of the world's orphans. There are an estimated 147 million orphans in the world (that is a modest estimate; it is likely there are even more). Why is that? How is it that there are more than 600 million "christians" in the world and the number of orphans continues to rise? I can't help but think about the days as the Director of a Children's Ministry when we struggled to get volunteers to help with the children. People sure didn't mind dropping their children off, but ask them to work, do something, anything, contribute and you're met with a thousand different excuses. Well, folks, it's time to DO SOMETHING!!! Can't adopt an orphan? Feed one: there are hundreds of world hunger campaigns out there who would love your $35 a month to feed a family. How about donating to someone's adoption? There is a donate button right here on our blog or contact Holt International and make a donation (and you can even have it go towards our adoption of Zoe if you wish). I shudder to think of the times we read a verse about serving others and, yet we look the other way. I need to give a big Thank You to my pastor for bringing the heat this week even when it is uncomfortable. The harvest is great, but the workers are few. We're looking for some workers.

Here are a few verses that were instrumental to bringing us to the point of jumping in and deciding to be courageous instead of cautious:

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:18

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." - Ephesians 3:20

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families. - Psalms 68:5-6

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. - Matthew 18:5

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. -James 1:27

Oh, and how cool is it that I received yet another photo of Zoe today? She's a cutie, but that hair is going to need some work!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teach Me Something Tuesday: Korean Phrases

Along with all the paperwork, meetings, phone calls and reading we've been doing, we are also starting to learn a few Korean phrases. We are hoping to learn a little Korean to help Zoe with her transition to joining our family and also to help her keep some of her Korean language so that she can build on it more as she gets older.

Here are a few of the phrases that we are beginning to learn:

Mommy: Omah (Om Mah)
Daddy: Ahbah or appa
Older Brother: Hyong

Baby: Ae gee

Family: Ka Jog or sik gu or ka jok

What do you want?: Mul won ha nee

Are you hungry?: Pae go pooh nee

Are you sleepy?: Chah go shim nee

Don’t be afraid: Moo soh wo hah jee ma

Have you eaten enough?: Mah ni muh gut ni?

Are you tired?: Pee gon hah nee?

Are you thirsty?: Mong mah roo nee?

Good morning: Jal janni

Good night: Jal jara

Do you like it?: Cho uh nee?

Don’t cry: Wul jee mah

Come here: Iree wah

Let’s go: Ka ja

Sleep well: Jahl ja

Let’s go home: Jip eh ka ja

I love you: Sa rahng he yo

Hello and goodbye (child): Ahn myungI am your mother: Nah nun omma da

I am your father: Nah nun ap pa da

How pretty you are!: Ah! Yeh pooh dah

How good you are! Ah! Cha ka dah

Your room: Nah pang (Nee bang)

Your clothes: Neh ot (Hee ot)

Your shoes: Neh sin (Nee shin)

Thank you (to child): Ko ma waw

Thank you (to adult): Ko map soom ne dah

Jesus: Yeh Soo

Pray: Ki Do

Church: Kyo Hweh

They are actually pretty fun to practice saying. Have fun trying them out! ~paula