Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Zoe and her new stuff!

As I posted before, we mailed a care package to another family who was traveling to Seoul to get their boy (Welcome to your forever family, Kai and Happy 1st Birthday!). They took it to her and sent us these pics of our girl with her new goods!

Our sweet girl! I can't wait to hold her in my arms!

She looks so serious here.

The boys both said "Oh, she likes to play ball! Awesome!"

Here's our beauty with her new outfit from us and her Pooh Bear lovey! Looks like she likes it already. We're praying that she really attaches to it. We should get it back, but I bought a back-up just in case.

Here she is sporting her new threads! She looks happy! Look! She even has a bow in her hair; yep, we sent that too! She better get used to that. There's a lot more where that came from.

Here's our happy girl lying on the blanket we sent!

This is absolutely the best picture and it means the most to me. Here she is looking at the photo album we sent of our family. This is her seeing our faces for the first time.

Here she is with her new new Pooh blanket! Love that little smile!

A big thanks to our friends who took Zoe her care package and sent us pictures of her enjoying it! We can never thank them enough!

Another Zoe sighting! (or 3)

Zoe has been seen a lot lately. Here are some of the pics we've received! Enjoy!

These few were from a mama who was traveling to get her precious baby girl! Thanks to this special mama!

The same day that I received those, another mom contacted me. She lives in the same area as us (like literally 20 mins away) and recently went to Korea to pick up her son. She took some donations to the Reception Center and took some pics of our girl (she did not know us at the time). She contacted me and said she had pics of our girl! Check these out! That beautiful white smocked dress was one of the things she took to donate! So precious! Thanks a lot to this mama!

This sweet one of our little Miss Zoe sleeping was from another sweet friend that I met through the Holt Forums. She traveled to bring home her sweet baby girl and stopped by to visit with the babies at the Reception Center. It was toddler nap-time, so our little sleepy-head was out like a light! Horray for a great sleeper-girl! I hope that this continues when she gets home! Thanks to this awesome mama!

A big thanks to all the wonderful moms who sent us these pics of our baby! It helps make the wait a little easier while we're waiting for her to come home! It's so good to see her face, and see that she's doing so well! We are truly blessed to have these treasures until she is finally in our arms! ~Paula

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another week with no word...

Another week has passed with no word on our EP submission (although I am thinking we've most likely been submitted and just not notified) and no word on our I600 progress. However, we did get lots of new pictures of our girl from other families. I'll post those later.

I've really been focusing on that I know that God knows EXACTLY when Zoe will be home. She'll be here in His perfect timing. He has brought us to this point and He's still completely in control of this situation. He didn't bring us to this point to let us take the reins from here on out; He's still got this under control.

This morning, I stumbled on a slip of paper in my Bible with Isaiah 26:3 on it. "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Thank you Lord for that word today. I'm choosing to be peaceful for this last leg of our adoption journey because I trust that He is in control.

I began reading a 2 week adoption companion that was sent to us from Show Hope (formerly known as Shaohannah's Hope), which is Steven Curtis Chapman's adoption foundation to bring awareness to the orphan crisis and to assist Christian families with grants for their adoptions. We applied for a Show Hope grant and they sent us this companion... the reading is great! It's refreshing to read what other adoptive families before us have said about their journeys. It's affirming to hear "Looking back at the wait and the setbacks we had endured to adopt our son, God's timing could not have been more perfect" (Kerry Hasenbalg).

I'm taking these last moments to take time to enjoy my big boys before Zoe arrives. Our days as a family of 4 are limited, they are drawing to an end and we couldn't be more excited about becoming a family of 5! Next weekend, Michael and I are loading up the kids and we are heading out to Lake Forest Ranch in Mississippi for a Family Escape Retreat. We will be nestled in the middle of a beautiful pine forest and participating in many activities like horseback riding, fishing (okay, the boys will be fishing, I'll sit on the dock and work on my tan while reading a book), rockwall, zip-line, swimming, tubing and lots more! We're really looking forward to spending the time together. It'll be a time of encouragement for all 4 of us and a lot of fun for the entire family.

At dinner the other night, I said "the timing of this retreat is great because Zoe will be here soon and she can't do some of the stuff at camp like the rockwall or horseback riding" to which Michael (my very sarcastic husband) said: "why, because she is a GIRL?" and I quickly resonded wit "um, because she is a BABY!" and the table lit up with laughter.

Oh, Zoe, we can't wait for you to be here, for you to join this crazy family who loves to joke with one another and tease one another. We can't wait to add your laughter to the mix at the dinner table. And one day you'll be riding on a horse too and challenging your brothers to a race to the top of the rockwall (probably while wearing a princess crown). We love you and we are trusting that God will bring you to us in His perfect time! Hope you're enjoying the stuff we sent you - you received it today in Korea! Love, Mommy

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Care Package

We sent a care package to another family who should be traveling to Korea soon (RING PHONE RING - She's waiting on her Travel Call). She will take Zoe's care package to her for us instead of us having to mail it to Korea! Thanks to that special mama, you know who you are. Somehow I lost the picture I took of it, so she took a pic for us and sent it to me. Here's what Zoe has coming her way!

That is 2 outfits, 2 pairs of pajamas, hair bows, ponytail holders, 2 disposable cameras (for them to take pics of her for us), a baby photo album with pics of our family, a blanket and a lovey. Enjoy sweet girl.

Now if that phone would ring for that family so they can take it to her!


The Power of Your Name

This song really speaks to my heart's cry. I wake up with this song in my head. I cry every time I hear it. Some people don't understand why we choose to do what we do (particularly adopt a child when we could have another child biologically if we wanted), but we want to be His hands and feet. We want to see this world changed through Jesus Christ. Our lives have been changed by The Only One who can change lives and we are blessed that He chose a beautiful baby girl in Korea for our family. We will never be the same. Lord, we will go where you send us; may we raise children who love Him enough to say, "here am I, send me!" ~Paula

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wilderness at the Smokies, here we come!

We are currently at my parents' house in Nashville and we're headed to the Smokies tomorrow. We are headed to the Wilderness at the Smokies Resort and Lodge and are really looking forward to a much-needed vacation! Mom and Dad are going too and we're looking forward to a wonderful vacation together!

Here are some pics of where we'll be staying. You might not hear from us for a couple of days; we are unsure of what our computer connections will be, but check this place out! As Andrew (4) would say: "oh, it's on like Donkey Kong!"

Blessings, Paula and the Sloan boys

Well Baby Check!

Zoe is now 9 months and went to see the doctor for her Well Baby Check (WBC) on 8-9-10. (That was a fun day, wasn't it?) We received her report on 8-12-10 and it looks like she is doing great! Here are her stats:

She's still holding down the 10th percentile at a big 17.4 pounds (7.9 kg).
Her height is 69 cm (27.16 inches) which is also the 10th percentile.
She has 2 teeth on the bottom.
The doctor noted that she was "cute and fine". I always love this.
I thought it was funny that the doctor noted "small vesicle on sole of foot; most likely an insect bite" (boy do they go over these babies with a fine-toothed comb!)


Gross Motor: Zoe rolls over, creeps and crawls, sits with good balance, sits up alone with back straight, pulls up into standing position and walks holding on to furniture.

Fine Motor: Zoe reaches out to grasp large object, transfers object from hand to hand, rakes at raisin (hahaha), picks up raisin with index finger and thumb in a pincher movement.

Personal and Social: Zoe prefers her caregiver, responds to the sound of her name (Eun-ha), plays peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake, waves bye-bye and would not play ball with the examiner (ha!).

Language: Zoe says single-syllables and says "umma" (mama in Korean) and imitates speech sound and babbles.

Zoe is at a 9 month developmental level and is now 9 months! We are so thankful to God that He's provided her with EXCELLENT medical care (comparable to the US; maybe even better) and that He's helped our little (premature) peanut catch up. Zoe was born at 30 weeks (10 weeks early) and spent a month in the NICU with premature-related issues. Now our daughter is growing and developing right on target!

We'll be there soon, baby girl! Soon!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Teach Me Something Tuesday: What's Next?

The question that I answer OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER is "What's next?" or "Have you heard anything yet?" I know each and every person who asks us this is genuinely asking because they are honestly interested (and so few people know how the international adoption process works and it really does vary from country to country, agency to agency- somewhat). With that said, the SECOND we know something, we'll let you know, we'll post on Facebook, we'll call you, we'll send an email, we'll post on our blog. I'm honestly trying not to be irritated when someone asks this question and it's not that I'm irritated that they are asking, I'm irritated that I have to respond with "nope, haven't heard anything". This is the waiting period and it's not easy. In fact, there are days when it gets the best of me. Knowing my child is 1/2 way around the world and I can't get to her any faster irritates me. It more than irritates me somedays. Somedays it is unbearable.

So, instead of focusing on teaching you about something in regards to the Korean culture/country, I have decided to explain what is next and what we can be expecting next.

Well, basically, we're waiting. Big news flash, hu?

1. We're waiting for our I-600 and I-600A approval. This is with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (US side)
2. We're also waiting to hear that Zoe's been submitted for an Emmigration Permit (in Korea) and once it's submitted, we'll wait approximately another month for it's approval. This is basically permission from the Korean government for Zoe to leave the country.
*I feel it's important to note that we could get the EP before the I-600 approval or vice-versa. The I-600 and I-600A happens here in the US and the EP happens in Korea. We need both and they are completely independent of one another, but we need BOTH to move forward.

Once we have approval of both the EP and the I-600, Zoe will have her physical for her visa and will make her Embassy Appearance and then we should receive our long awaited TRAVEL CALL!

And I'll leave you with this, a pic of the boys with their sister!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Okay, I am a bad blogger! Let's catch up!

Sorry!!! Life has been so busy lately and I haven't made it a priority to blog. Let me catch you up on where we are.

We received Zoe's official referral and acceptance papers on July 14th and received her legals on July 16th.

We got a huge boatload of new pictures of our cutie on July 23rd. We got 18 new pics and 2 video clips. A sweet family had gone to Korea to bring home their baby and stopped by the Reception Center with some donations and went to visit the babies. Here are a few cute pics that they captured of Miss Zoe.

Here's a sweet video of our baby girl in action. (Push pause on the playlist on the right to turn the blog music off so you can hear the video.)

Now we are waiting on our I-600 and I-600A approval. This is for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The I-600A approves us as her parents to bring a foreign child here for the purposes of adoption and the I-600 approves her specifically as the immigrant for the purposes of adoption. So now we wait. Please pray for this approval to come quickly. Many adoptive parents file the I-600A before the I-600, but since we already had her referral, our agency asked us to file them together. With many changes being recently made to the USCIS system, we are praying for a speedy approval with no hold-ups. Unfortunately, many adoptive families have been stuck in this process recently. We are hoping that they've worked those kinks out and it'll be smooth sailing for us and other adoptive parents at this step!

While we wait on this approval, our acceptance papers in Korea began the ball rolling on the Korean side. We hope to hear that she has been submitted for her EP (Emigration Permit) soon and I can't wait to hear that it has been approved. Korea has begun to limit the number of EPs they approve each year, so when they run out: they're out and anyone stuck in the middle has to wait for the following calendar year. We are praying for an EP approval by the middle to end of September!

Keep praying for her as she remains in Korea and continue to pray for our process to move quickly so that she can come home to her forever family! We are ready for her!!!


P.S. I'm already working on next week's Teach Me Something Tuesday, so stay tuned!