Monday, November 30, 2009

For Those Who are Praying

I thought I'd do an adoption update for all you sweet friends who are praying for us. We spent the middle of last week in 'freak out' mode over the possibility of having to re do EVERYTHING from our homestudy to physicals for everyone and background checks. There wasn't anything we could do because of Thanksgiving so we actually spent a few days NOT worrying about it. It's amazing how when it was out of our hands we didn't worry!

Today I was very anxious. VERY ANXIOUS!! We didn't know where to start and weren't getting clear answers. Brian went downtown before work this morning to get our background checks done. After getting all of our appointments set (except for the one with our case worker who has to come to our home, etc.) we got a crazy call. Brian had called the 'one in charge' at AGA again to get answers and clarification. She hadn't been able to reach the CIS man but said we just needed to redo the whole thing. MAJOR ANXIETY over that. I was so stressed at one point that I was ready to throw in the towel...seriously. I just kept praying (and looking at catalogs) and felt peace come over me but still didn't know what to do.

WHILE I was on the phone with Brian (freaking out) the 'one in charge' beeped in on Brian's line and gave us crazy news. She said that all we needed were the background checks and our child abuse clearances redone. HUH??? (Now if you read back into the adoption timeline you'll see that getting my child abuse clearance the first time was crazy b/c they lost it...but it got done).

One would think I would have been OVERJOYED by this news...jumping up and down, in fact. I mean....not redoing the homestudy would be AWESOME!! However, after thinking that we were over the drama last week just by getting an addendum I am still very hesitant about this new development. After talking to lots of people I did end up canceling the dr. appt's and hope that was a wise decision (and that the CIS man doesn't change his mind about re doing it all again).

So basically Brian and I went over to AGA today and signed some papers. They will be sent to western NC and hopefully faxed back by the end of the week. They will then either be faxed to CIS man or Brian will take them to him. THEN hopefully Brian will be able to go pick up our approval. AGA thinks that this can all be done by the end of the week. I.WOULD.LOVE.THAT. We'll see, though. It's out of our hands. I'm praying that this is FOR REAL this time and that we aren't 'wasting' more time by putting off the inevitable (redoing the homestudy).

THEN the papers will FINALLY get mailed off to Texas for two weeks, mailed back, mailed to FCA, and then HOPEFULLY to Korea. Make Sense??? Please keep praying...thank you so much for your faithfulness and constant encouragement! You may just be witnessing a miracle in the making...we already call him our miracle baby!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to Earn 101

I've gotten such great response from my post on Swag Bucks..thanks! I've had several people ask me exactly how they work so that you can earn virtual bucks after you sign up. For signing up you automatically earn 3 swag (or virtual) bucks. Make swag bucks your homepage (instead of google, etc.) so that it comes up every time you bring up the Internet. I usually type in a few random searches every time just to try and win some (other than that I win them on legitimate searches and by finding swag codes).

After making it your homepage, download the tool bar to make it even easier and so you can earn more. This may sound hard but if I can do it, ANYONE can. All the directions will be on the 'earning' portion of your swag bucks homepage.

You can earn more swag bucks by shopping online (on the swag bucks page, I believe) but I earn all mine just by searching the Internet for things I'd already search for.

I've been doing it since the summer and have already earned $40.00 in Amazon gift cards...not bad just for doing something I'd already be doing! That was also before I got any referrals. Thanks to you guys I'm able to earn even more now. Just remember...the more you search, the more you'll earn. You earn AT LEAST two a day by searching. Sometimes more...rarely less.

Sign up here to get started and keep sending me emails if you have more questions. Thanks!

Search & Win

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A girl and her Poppy

Cailey went out with Poppy on some errands one day while we were up in Maryland. She got to go see where he works (which not everyone can do because of security), go to see where he does his woodworking, and a couple other places. On the way home they stopped and shared a pizza together....she was on cloud nine! Nothing like a date with Poppy to make your day!

Last time we visited she went on a 3 mile hike with him in the woods and let's just say that things went GREAT until she needed a the middle of the woods (and NOT in a good way:). She still had a great time and talks about how special it was to go 'by herself' with Poppy.

Align Center

her smile lasted all day:)

Friday, November 27, 2009

One on One time

I love having one on one time with each of the kiddos...and they love it too! A few weeks ago we were supposed to go to a craft show as a family but Cailey got sick so it became a Mommy/Braden thing! We had a great time and ended up spending hours looking around the show, talking to friends, and running errands afterwards. I love spending time with you, Braden!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

play doh cookies

just the girls:) (including Polly and Macy)

dancing with my girl while Poppy played the piano

Nonny made a yummy dinner!

playing with Poppy

Today was perfect. We hung around the house, played games, went on walks, Brian and I went on a run, listened to Poppy play the piano, ate Nonny's yummy cooking, napped, played more games, and just hung out. We had a nice day just hanging out as a family.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble Gobble Crafts

Ever since I started homeschooling the kiddos it seems like finding time for crafts is harder than it used to be. Earlier in the week and friday night we made a bunch of turkey crafts since Thanksgiving is quickly approaching! We didn't do many pumpkin ones this year (I had some cute ideas, too) and I wanted to make sure that we got in the 'gobble gobble' ones before we start Christmas ones. Here's a picture of our fall crafts:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


We're attached to our little guy. I know it's hard to explain to those who haven't adopted before, but once you get that picture and their birth parent background story it's hard NOT to bond. We've sent him presents...this guy is ours in our heads and in our children's heads. The kids are old enough now that they know that he's their brother. They ask about him...and pray for him. Braden is BEYOND excited about him and even writes about Ephram.

We don't know why this is all happening. We do know that we want HIM. We feel like that's supposed to happen, but we don't know what the bigger plan is. If this doesn't happen it will be like losing a child. I was talking with a friend and told her it felt almost like when I miscarried and she said it's more like losing a child because we already know him. It's it IS a baby who we've seen and we love. We're praying that it still happens because we can't wait to get our hands on those cheeks!

I called the dr. and they can get us in one week from today.

Legacy Finale Night!

Kinsey and her preschool teachers:)! Janet, Anne (who wasn't
there that night) and I all taught preschool the second hour. We
had a blast teaching these sweet kiddos! Kinsey LOVED preschool!

Kinsey and Austin

one of their favorite parts of finale
night...yummy food!

Cailey's 'Clay' teachers...
Clay was a good experience for Cailey
and she had a fun time. She found
it to be hard at times, but liked it overall.

Cailey took crafts this fall and made some really
cute things! She LOVES her sweet teacher and
couldn't wait to see her each week.

Cailey with Harrison and Lindsey

In Generations Expedition Braden learned about
Australia and Africa. He had such a great time and came
home every week telling us about all sorts of creatures we'd
never heard of...and fun facts!

Braden had a blast learning about Space too! It fit
perfectly with our curriculum since we are doing Astronomy
this fall. Mrs. Newton (his teacher) said that he would
often help them out with the answers and always remembered
the order of the planets:).

Braden and Reece

Daddy had such a great time being able to see everything the kids had done in co op during our fall semester!

Monday, November 23, 2009

not good.

This morning Brian got an email from CSI man stating that he received the packet. AWESOME!! This evening Brian got an email from CSI man stating that our homestudy would have to be REDONE. We have NO IDEA what's going on or why he said it was fine to have an addendum. Right now we're in freak out mode. This means all new dr. appt's...for ALL FIVE of us. Which also means waiting on blood test results. Which also means it won't be happening this week. It means they have to come back out to our house and start the homestudy from scratch. We don't know why. We don't know if we'll need all new recommendation letters, etc. THIS IS NOT GOOD. I keep wondering why this is happening. Why we couldn't start this process LAST WEEK so our appt's could be done. Why in the WORLD would he say an addendum is ok if it's not?? What's worse is that there is no one in our agency that's available to help us. Why would we get this referral if all this was going to happen?? Emotionally neither one of us are doing good right now. We want our baby. We don't want this to fall apart.

Finding this out has turned me into a cleaning monster. I deal with stress in different ways...usually by eating...A LOT. After eating m&m's and potato chips I cooked dinner. Then I started cleaning. I'm doing things that I RARELY do (don't get me wrong, I clean...but I'm going way overboard!)...even cleaned the sink, L (Brian was shocked-ewww)!! I feel like I'm on another planet right now. Please pray. I DO believe in the power of prayer and know that God can work this out. I haven't called FCA to tell them and honestly feel like I'm going to wait until next week to see what unfolds. Brian emailed CSI man back to ask why but won't hear a response until (hopefully) tomorrow. Everything closes for the week on Wednesday...our dr. offices are closed until next week. There's not a whole lot we can do at this point other than worry OR pray.

Please pray this will get worked out ASAP and that our homestudy will get done quickly. Pray that everyone who needs to be involved in this will be diligent. Thank you for praying!

Pen Pals

letters from afar
Lise also sent some German soccer cards.

Last year Cailey started writing letters once every couple of weeks to help with handwriting, vocabulary, spellling, and writing skills. She mainly wrote notes to her friends who lived around here or thank you notes. This year she's been writing them weekly and has more people to write to. She writes to Nonny (in Maryland), Rebecca (in Salisbury), Lise (in Germany), and a few others that flew out of my brain at the moment!

Lise was a teenage helper with AWANAS last year (and the year before) and Cailey LOVES her! She's in an exchange student program in Germany right now and Cailey's been able to write her, chat on Facebook with her, and Skype with her! Lise introduced us to Skyping...thanks! The first time Cailey skyped (and chatted on FB) she was super excited!

She loves getting mail and now loves writing letters, too! She says she loves it because she knows she'll get mail if she writes. This year she pretty much does it all herself and is now moving on to two page letters because there is so much she wants to say! If anyone wants a 7 year old pen pal let me know...she'd love some more 'far away' friends to write to!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

FREE Christmas presents!

I wanted to do a post on Swag Bucks again because I've been able to get so many FREE Christmas presents just by searching the Internet (which I'd do anyway)! You can get prizes, gift cards, and all sorts of things once you earn your swag bucks. I get $5.00 Amazon gift cards everytime I get to 45 swag bucks and then use my gift cards to buy things we'd normally need to buy. I was able to save up so many swag bucks that I got my parents, Cailey's, and a couple other Christmas presents!! I know you may be skeptical...but SERIOUSLY...all you do to earn them is search the Internet. I just made Swag Bucks my home page so it comes up everytime I bring the Internet up. Click on this link to start earning yours!!

Search & Win

Impromptu Puppet Show

I was cooking dinner the other night and saw Kinsey having a puppet show (in her panties, of course:). Then Braden joined her and and they put on the CUTEST show together! I treasure these moments with them!

Kinsey comes home EVERY week talking about how much she LOVES the puppet shows at Cubbies! I think she's been doing them so much at home because of that. Oh...and these puppets are parents bought them for me when we lived in Austria (I was four like Kinsey:).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November 21, 2008

One year ago today I took the kids with me to my doctor for our adoption. We were sitting in the room waiting for the nurse to come in and Cailey suddenly started asking me tons of questions about becoming a Christian. She said she wanted to do it right then. I thought maybe we should wait until Brian came home from work so he could really be sure she was ready. (I've always been very hesitant about kids being so young and truly being able to grasp the huge and awesome decision they are making). I know the bible says, "Let the little children come unto ME" and she was NOT letting the idea go. While the nurse was taking my blood pressure, my sweet Cailey girl asked Jesus to live in her heart forever!! Praise God! I was in shock!

Almost every day after that she asked when she could be baptized and share her testimony. It seems like we were out of town or couldn't work it out before the summer baptism but I think it worked out for the best!

Every since she was two her favorite verse was Romans 8:38-39..and she knew the whole thing!
Since she loved it for so many years I thought it's what she would want to share at her baptism but she chose Psalm 23 beautiful too!

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I am so thankful that our sweet Cailey made the most important decision of her life on November 21, 2008! We love you, Cailey!

This is a verse that I shared with her on her first 'Jesus birthday': 2Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
My sweet butterfly!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Drop Off

Brian was able to get the addendum to the right person this morning. Now we wait and pray that the government will keep things moving:)!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stage One is Done

Brian was able to pick up the homestudy addendum! Tomorrow morning he'll drop it off at CIS and then we'll wait for the approval. Hopefully we'll get it and be able to mail it off before Thanksgiving.


Brian is meeting someone from AGA in a parking lot across town. That sounds so "Law and Order":). They wanted to just push it off until tomorrow but he was persistent and will be getting the homestudy in 45 minutes!! Here's praying for NO TRAFFIC for either one of them!

2:00 has come and gone...

So the saga continues. AGA couldn't get the paperwork done so we still don't have it. The person who is supposed to sign it was out of the office and then delayed by some unexpected circumstances.

Supposedly they are going to get it done at some point today. Then Brian will bring it to CIS in the morning. I am SO thankful that Brian was able to connect with the CIS man (feel bad for not knowing his name) and I feel like once it's in his hands this will speed up.

I called and talked to FCA and Darlene (the woman in charge of the Korea program) was thrilled with the news.


AGA said that they will have the homestudy addendum done by 2:00!! Thanks to Laura we had the cell phone number of the right person to go to and she's making it happen:)! Brian will pick it up and take it to CIS before 4:00. After that we will wait for the approval to bring our baby home. The man is telling Brian that it will be done by's hoping!

On another note, I have a stomach virus and was up all night...NOT GOOD. I've spent the day in bed and am hoping this is a 24 hr thing. Thanks for the prayers...I'll keep the updates coming.

I'm going to call FCA right now and update them...I feel like Korea won't be getting that phone call afterall:). Things are looking up...LOVE the power of prayer!

Looking Up

First of all let me say that we are overwhelmed by the emails and prayer. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We can see God's Hand all over this and thank you for praying...please continue to pray! As Brian was driving to CIS this morning (the fingerprinting place) he got an email on his phone from the man who has been working with him there. The man said that if we could get AGA to write an addendum (on letterhead, signed and notarized) to the Homestudy saying that nothing had changed then it would be acceptable. (So he never had to go down there) Now we are trying to get that to happen..and QUICKLY. We've always had a problem with them getting things done ASAP but praying that this time will be different and they'll see the urgency. Once this happens he'll bring it down to CIS and hopefully they'll expedite the process so Korea will never have to know this happened. HUGE prayer request is that this can get done BEFORE Thanksgiving. The government gets super backed up around the holidays because of closings, so we need to get this done before that happens. Thanks again for praying!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Please, NO!!

We got more information on what we need to do and it is much worse than we had originally anticipated. Because our homestudy was not sent in with the fingerprints (in February) we have to get a NEW homestudy. They have to get one that is less than six months old. Ours is nine months old.

We are going to see if ours can be re-dated because nothing in our lives has changed in the past nine months (other than our kids ages). Please pray that the agency will go along with it....things are not looking good at this point. Brian is still going to go and BEG tomorrow morning but it does clearly state on the I 600 form that the homestudy can not be sent in after it is six months old. After that (if it doesn't go well) he's going to call our agency and see what they can do about it. I know I keep saying this, but please pray!! We both feel like Ephram is the baby we are supposed to have and know that if it's true then it will work out...just maybe not in our timing.

Thanks for all the encouraging messages and keep em' coming!

HUGE Oversight

We've had issues with different things with our past adoptions...but they were always BEFORE we got a referral. Though they were a pain during the process I'd always end up saying that obviously our baby wasn't ready.

With Braden we had SEVERAL setbacks and I couldn't imagine not having him!! One setback we had with him (that at the time was beyond ridiculous and now we laugh about) is that they thought Brian was a murderer. See, there was another Brian Barbour who had committed murder, and even though our Brian had a different DOB and social security number for some reason we had to stop everything to prove he wasn't the same person because they were from the same county. Anyway...because of that month long setback we got Braden...not a baby who was born the month before. There are a couple more things like that which happened with Braden's adoption too...but none with Kinsey.

Today we found out some horrible news about our adoption but what makes it horrible is that we already have a referral. We know who this baby is, love him, and want to get him home as soon as possible. I will not bring myself to think that it may not happen...but I do know that it will definitely delay him coming home. There is no way around that at this point. That makes me so sad! OUR baby is far away from us and bonding more and more each day with his foster family. I'm so mad at myself for not checking and re-checking to make sure something like this wouldn't happen. Basically we don't have I 600 approval...meaning that we don't have approval to bring a baby into the country. This happened because our homestudy was never sent in with our fingerprints to be approved. I'm not going to play the blame game on here, but I will say that with our past adoptions it's ALWAYS been the agency's job to mail it in. We've never had to do that so we didn't even think about it. In reading the timeline you can see we've had issues with our current agency...but this is HUGE! I am praying that it will get resolved quickly!

Brian was able to contact someone by email today and found out that if they could get an original signed copy of the homestudy then they could get things moving. The government is usually SO SLOW when it comes to things like this so we are praying that God will lead us to the right people so that we can keep Ephram...and bring him home. Brian just came all the way home from work (30 min each way) to pick up a signed copy of our homestudy in hopes that he could just bring it to where we did our fingerprints. Even though there was NO ONE waiting there and they were open they said they only take walk in's between 8:00-10:00am. Tomorrow morning he'll go over there and hopefully be led to someone who can help us. I'm praying that this will be a much better experience than last time (when we went for fingerprints).

As of now we are ok. HOWEVER, FCA will have to tell Korea that we can't accept the referral before long so we are praying that we can get our approval before that has to happen. We need a miracle!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

'nough said

kinsey's hair....that SHE cut out

I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of her yet...I'm still in shock that she cut her hair. I've ALWAYS thought that it was amazing she hadn't done it before. Today while I was doing school with Braden and Cailey she had been in my room and I called her over. I took one look at her and my face showed all of my emotion. Cailey and Braden were watching me and just kept saying, "What's wrong?" I.WAS.SPEECHLESS.

I walked into my bathroom and found a carefully cleaned up empty box of band aids...and all the wrappers in the trash. Then lotion ALL OVER the place. (Been there done that..wasn't too shocking). Then UNDER the band aid trash I found her precious hair. It was so much more than I had first thought! Because her hair is black I feel like I can hide it better than if it were Cailey's. I'm debating between buying lots of hats, parting her hair differently to see if I can hide it or trying to get it all chopped off.

It'll grow back. I know that. Still a bummer right before Christmas...but it'll grow back. Kinsey, Kinsey, Kinsey

Monday, November 16, 2009


We have TONS of stuffed animals. The ones that aren't filling up the kids beds are in a huge basket inside Braden's closet. Most of those stay there until one day when the kids finally remember they are there...which is usually short lived. A few years ago my mom bought them the Bear that goes with the books, "Bear Wants More" and "Bear's Christmas Wish", etc. 'Bear' spent most of his time hibernating in the basket of 'friends' (as we call them in our house). Kinsey somehow found the Bear and has become ATTACHED to it! She's so cute with it! She has named it Sadie and carries it everywhere...along with her blankie. She even gives it piggy back rides! She just came in and said, "I love my Sadie!"


Saturday, November 14, 2009

adoption timeline

7/07: I want to keep track of the journey to complete our family, so I decided to start this post in hopes of publishing it soon!! Right now we are waiting to hopefully get a referral for a domestic adoption by the end of the summer:). The next three dates are things that happened to get us to this point.

6/06-4/07: (fertility testing, etc. They found nothing wrong with either of us and dr.'s predict i'll get pregnant with a low dose of drugs) IUI (they had to up the dose to get it to work) and IVF/ turned IUI. Brian feels strongly about not adopting from Korea again because of money. I want to adopt domestically and he's not open to it at this point. Looking at the dates you can see that this has already been a long journey of trying to get pregnant...

4/07: Miscarriage after IVF cycle turned IUI because of only one egg. I was SO excited and felt like it was a miracle. Brian wants to adopt. I don't at this point. After putting these drugs into my body and daily blood tests, then the miscarriage after the IVF turned IUI my heart is set on conceiving again. I can't believe how much that changed. God changed Brian's heart and now I'm the one who doesn't want to adopt again.

5/07: Things aren't going well with the IVF. For some reason my body just isn't getting back to normal so they haven't been able to start another cycle. I'm so frustrated and am sick of it. I finally feel ready to adopt:)!! I know it seems crazy that only a month ago I was completely closed off to it, but this is SUCH an emotional journey that every single day feels like an eternity. It truly is AMAZING that it took all this to get us to adopt. I'm so excited and can't wait! We'd LOVE to get a biracial baby. Hopefully it'll go quickly (like our friend's did but at least I know it'll be faster than International Adoption!

6/07: We were able to just update the homestudy from Kinsey instead of starting all over because hers is still good. All the paperwork is done and now we wait! It's crazy because at least with Korea we knew it would be 2-3 months until the referral and 2-3 months after that they could come home. I'm REALLY hoping the baby will be here by August:)!

9/07: I'm feeling nervous. I always hesitated adopting domestically because it felt like a popularity contest. Basically birth moms get albums and pick a family from there. (So it's based on house size, job, looks, etc.) new hope is to have a baby by exciting!

12/07: Thanksgiving has come and gone. I was really sad going to Mom and Dad's house because I thought we'd have a fourth by now. I don't understand why it's taking so long because we are open to any race! EVERYONE else I know (who used this agency) got babies so quickly! I'm pretty discouraged at this point.

5/08: Called FCA (the Connecticut agency who has a license to adopt healthy babies from Korea) to inquire about Korea BUT decided against it b/c we didn't want to use the same NC agency we used before and they weren't able to let us use a different agency because of a contract they had with CAS. (You have to have a local agency to do the homestudy, etc. AND FCA.) Since our domestic homestudy is with Amazing Grace Adoptions we were trying to see if FCA would let us work with them so we wouldn't have to jump through as many hoops AND because they are significantly cheaper. We've used two different NC agencies to adopt from Korea. With Braden we used Bethany Christian Services..and can honestly say we were not happy with several things that went on. When we adopted Kinsey we used CAS and we very pleased with their services, but they charged WAY more than other agencies so we didn't feel like we would go back again.

6/08: Our homestudy runs out in November but I gave up hope on getting a baby, changed the house around, got rid of nursery and baby stuff, got family photo, hung angel pics (a HUGE step...framed the three kiddos together meaning that's all there would be). This has been so hard, but I feel like I spent the month "un nesting" to hopefully heal the pain I've been feeling by not getting the fourth child that I really felt like we'd have. God has blessed us with three healthy children and that is more than some families are able to have. As I look back on things I wrote it seems like I'm not thankful. That's not how it is at all. I am SO thankful for His gifts but somehow was desperate to fufill my 'heart's desire' of having four children. If you haven't gone through infertility issues then I can see how it can be hard to understand....but for those of you who have, thanks for all the encouraging words!

8/08: Still don't have peace about not having a baby...even though the house is completely changed around! I called FCA and they still can't let us use another agency. I just DON'T UNDERSTAND why we aren't getting a domestic baby! I've wondered so many times how my friends were able to get matched so quickly and why we aren't getting chosen. We know for a fact it's not because we already have children because people with 6, 7, and 8 children have gotten babies before us! I just don't understand!! Everytime I see a biracial girl when I'm out it just breaks my heart. I call them my "Hannah's"...and see them EVERYWHERE! Several of the babies I've seen that fit the description are even named Hannah! It's craziness!

11/10/08: A couple days ago I found out that a close friend of mine was pregnant. I was THRILLED for her...but sad for me. Again, if you haven't experienced infertility it's hard to understand. I spent the next two days in bed...depressed...and couldn't stop thinking about a baby. I knew our homestudy was going to run out this month and that once it did we wouldn't start all over. After Brian saw me so sad and depressed he said I should call FCA again and see if they would let us use Amazing Grace.....and they WILL!! I couldn't believe it! They are actually letting us use AGA...which of course I see as a 'sign':). Here we go again!

11/11/08: got paperwork from FCA Adoptions

11/15/08: got paperwork from Amazing Grace Adoptions to pursue International Adoption

12/07/08: finished paperwork (including two physicals, state the rain...with three kids:), and recommendation letters from friends and our pastor)

12/10/09: told we had to have ALL the paperwork and homestudy done and mailed to Korea by 2/1/09 in order to bring a baby home in 2009. At least we have a couple months to get it done! We were also told that a TON of things have changed in Korean adoption since we adopted Braden and Kinsey. *One thing is that the baby will be older...around 10-12 months old. While I was nervous about it at first, I am ok with it because we got rid of all the baby stuff anyway! *Another thing is that they are only letting out HALF the amount of babies per year that they used to. They are trying to promote Korean adoption in their country. *We will travel this time. *There are a few other, but I'm too tired to think of them now.

1/05/09: received all background check ok's
(this was a BIG pain because so many laws have changed since we adopted from Korea last time...we had to jump through a LOT more hoops this time and get a background check from Massachusetts as well which took longer)

1/10/09: Told us they lost Cailey's birth certificate AND my child abuse clearance (yet another set back). I know we still have three weeks but I'm starting to get nervous about the February timeline!

1/21/09: Finally got my second child abuse clearance form back (which had been lost). The reason this is all so frustrating is that they can not start our homestudy renewal until they have all this paperwork in their hands. We are at the mercy of the state.

1/22/09: First phone call from social worker

1/23/09: Payed and mailed form to CIS for federal fingerprints. We are excited about this change! We had to drive to Charlotte EARLY in the morning in order to get fingerprints for Braden and Kinsey but now there is an office in Durham that we can go to!! Now we wait for the appointment.

1/26/09: homestudy
*During this time we had a HARD time getting AGA to sign the needed paperwork to send to FCA. It was a very frustrating few weeks and we were on pins and needles knowing that our paperwork was supposed to be DONE by 2/1/09. We know that they have other families they need to work with but in the midst of this it's CRAZY for us as we know we have a deadline that is only a few days away!!

1/26/09: Found out the dr. wrote the wrong year on our physicals. This is one of those things that I'm sure we'll laugh about someday- the whole..."you couldn't make this stuff up" scenario but right now we're not laughing.

1/28/09: dr. faxed correct information

1/28/09: homestudy complete

2/3/09: fingerprint appt. 7:00am this was a complete nightmare!! We thought it would be easier because it's in Durham now. We showed up to get fingerprinted at 6:45 am so we'd be a little early. The kids were tired...we were all tired but just wanted to get it done and were thrilled that it only took a couple weeks for an appt. which is unheard of! We only had to go to Durham, which was great because the last times we adopted, we drove to Charlotte for them. Unfortunately the building didn't even open until 7:30 and fingerprints didn't open until 8:00 so someone messed up big time on our letter. To make a VERY long story short, we didn't end up getting home from our 7:00am fingerprint appt. until 10:00am...we should have been home by 7:45 at the latest... (and Brian had to drive an hour to get a receipt from home) yet another ridiculous thing to happen during this already crazy adventure!

2/3/09: STILL WAITING for paperwork to be signed by AGA (at this point it's beyond ridiculous that they didn't get it done before 2/1). I am trying SUPER hard to be calm and not get upset. I do realize that there are other families who need their paperwork done as well. But it's so frustrating!

2/4/09: I Had a REALLY hard day b/c Amazing Grace is STILL dragging their feet on signing the homestudy so it can be mailed off. i talked to Kathy (who has worked with us on Braden and Kinsey's adoptions:) at FCA (cried, actually) today about the situation and she can't really do anything about it...I WISH THEY would just sign the paperwork so it can be mailed to Korea!!

2/13/09: The paperwork is mailed to Korea...FINALLY!! Now we'll wait 4-6 months to get a referral!! (The timeline is longer now than it was when we adopted Kinsey and Braden...we waited 2-3 months for a referral with their adoptions.) At this point I'm prepping myself for an August referral. (That will be 6 months from now:)

7/9/09: Got an email saying that things are taking longer for some reason. I honestly was telling myself that it would be August when we would get the call but deep down I was hoping for one much sooner. We were told 2-3 months with Kinsey and only ended up waiting a few days!

8/13/09: Called to find out what was going on since our 6 months are up today. Apparently the wait is now NINE months!!! Are you kidding me?? You just couldn't make this stuff up! I'm just so frustrated that things keep changing because Korea was always so predictable. I am not liking the changes and am starting to wonder if we are supposed to get a baby. I'm not sure how long we are going to wait this out.

10/20/09: We've been waiting for 8 months now and I called to get an update. I found out that the wait has once again been moved- up to TEN months. On the other hand, we also found out that most of the referrals that have been received lately were for 5 month olds. Originally we were told that it would be an older baby than we got before, around 10-12 months old. I was totally unprepared to hear that the baby could be younger! On one hand that's AWESOME because the bonding will be easier. On the other hand, I was thinking that getting rid of all the baby stuff was ok because we'd be getting an older one. AND that we wouldn't need formula. Hmmm...a younger one....very interesting. This doesn't mean that we will definitely get a referral for a younger baby, but COULD. I also found out that there is only one family ahead of us. BUT that doesn't mean that families behind us can't get picked first (b/c they are open to other health issues). I just wish things would STOP CHANGING!! Boy...I keep saying this, but God either has a REALLY special baby we are supposed to have or I need to give up on this! Brian and I decided that if we don't get a referral by December then we're calling it quits. This is huge. Here's to hoping for a miracle...two more months!

10/27/09: We got a referral!! I can't believe it! Born on 6/3/09!! Our June baby! (I always it would be neat to have a baby born in June because our birthdays would all be two months apart. Brian and I have ours in February, Braden in April, Cailey in August, and Kinsey in October. Funny thing is that I was thinking June a couple years ago:) I honestly wasn't sure if it would happen and am SHOCKED that we got the referral for our baby BOY! Ephram Aiken Barbour born on June 3, 2009. Now we wait to get our precious baby!

10/29/09: Got child study...and found out that travel dates are faster than they used to be. Instead of February or March, they think we'll go get him in January.

10/30/09: Accepted Referral

11/1/09: I'm Getting SUPER nervous but EXCITED about the traveling to get Ephram!! I've been looking through all the information we were given on currency, hotels, food, time change, etc. and have just been feeling nervous about it all. It's going to be VERY expensive to travel there...for the hotel, food, and airplane tickets. We are praying that someone has a ton frequent flyer miles they don't need and would be willing to donate them. PLEASE let us know if you know of anyone and join us in praying for this need.

11/3/09: Fed Ex'ed the I 864 and I 864 A (signed and notarized paperwork) along with money to FCA. (We had to wait until today so he'd be 5 months old). Today Ephram is 5 months old...hopefully we'll get to hold him before he's too much older:).

11/14/09: Sent a care package to Ephram and his foster family! We sent an outfit, two toys, a "blankie" (just like the other kiddo's), a disposable camera, and pictures of our family. The agency always sends a list of things that would be good to send to the foster family as a "thank you". We sent them nuts, lotion, and candy. We are SO thankful for the sweet family who is caring for Ephram while we can't.

**I'll keep updating this post as things change so be sure to check back**

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cookin' Kiddos

My kids LOVE to cook. I'm guessing they feel this way because I love to cook! This week Cailey asked if she could 'cook' nachos for everyone's lunch and wanted to do it all by herself. She did a great job choosing the ingredients and putting everything together!

spreading out chopped tomatoes

cutting up the peppers...not the easiest thing
to learn how to cut but she did a great job!

They all LOVED their nacho lunch! Cailey informed us
all that it had whole grain, fruit, vegetables, and dairy:)

Braden wanted to make muffins another day this week and did almost all of it himself too! He needed some help with cracking the eggs (after trying for a long time) and getting the muffin scooper to work with his little hands:). He was even able to safely put them into and take them out of the oven.

he read the instructions and got everything he needed

enjoying his yummy banana nut muffins