28 May 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

Mitchell, Bryan, Jen, Kyle, Grandma, Grandpa and the girls.

Mommy & Grace hangin' out in the shade.

Morgan relaxing after doing his laps.


Faith stops for a picture while exploring around the house.

Our little Nemos.

Faith and Grace.

Grace just loves to float in her boat.

Faith loves to splash and kick.

Me and my girls.

We hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day weekend! Morgan's sister, Jennifer and her family came to visit us from Escondido. We had a nice time hanging out at the pool and having dinner afterwards. On Sunday, we eagerly came home from church to watch the final round of the Senior PGA Championship. It was very exciting to watch Denis inch his way to the top of the leader board. We were on the edge of our seats, cheering him on! Congratulations, Denis!!!
We couldn't be more happy for you and your family! After all you've been through, we know this victory was an emotional one. We celebrate and praise God with you!

Today, we remember so many who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom we all enjoy. We also thank and pray for our troops around the world. May God bless them and their families and bring peace to all.

26 May 2007

Cheering section

Our friend, Denis is playing in the Senior PGA Championship this weekend in Kiawah Island, SC. So far, after two rounds, he's holding steady in 3rd. It's been very exciting watching him play over the last two weekends. You can be sure that we'll be watching and rooting for him today and tomorrow. After having numerous injuries over the last 20 years and shoulder surgery last year, Denis is making a triumphant comeback! He played extremely well last weekend too, placing 3rd at the Regions Charity Classic in Birmingham, AL. This week, in South Carolina, he is joined by his wife, Susan and their family. We have all been praying for the Holy Spirit to calm his nerves and it seems to be working because he's playing with great confidence and consistency. We couldn't be more thrilled for him! Denis and Susan graciously hosted our twin baby shower before the girls arrived. A couple of months ago, they moved back to their beautiful home in Florida but we still keep in touch and hope to go out to visit sometime.
Go, Denis! We are so proud of you!

24 May 2007

Afternoon dip

With temperatures pushing 100 this week, we decided to take an afternoon dip.
Here are some pictures of our bikini babes.

22 May 2007

2 down, 2 to go!

Daddy's girls.

Grace trying to get in Daddy's office to see him.

Faith just hangin' out in the hallway.

Grace decides to sit and clap while waiting for Daddy.

Faith gets some lovin'.

It's hard to believe but our girls are 14 months old today. We had the second of our four social worker visits this afternoon. All went well and the visit was brief and easy. After two more visits, we can officially go to court to make us a "legal" family.

Here's an update of our girls...

After speaking with many people, it seems we are incredibly fortunate to have babies that sleep 12 hours a night. There has not been one single night where Morgan and I have had to get up. They have both adjusted very well, considering they used to sleep on the floor in Korea from midnight to 6:00 a.m. They continue to take 2 naps during the day too. They take a 90 minute nap in the morning and a 60-90 minute nap in the afternoon.

Their favorite foods are any kind of vegetable or fruit, pot stickers, mac 'n cheese, wheat rolls, turkey, mashed potatoes, and cheerios. They are really good eaters and eat just about anything. Lately, they've been entertaining us by repeating what we say and do. Surprisingly, they follow directions well and know not to touch certain things around the house. We are amazed by how much they can actually understand us. They are so much fun and it's so cool to watch them grow and learn. We are constantly running to get our camera to capture great moments throughout the day.

Faith is extremely easy-going. She is quickly learning to share and it's very sweet to witness her share toys with her sister. Faith is both affectionate and independent. She loves to give hugs and kisses yet she can play by herself or with her sister for a long time. These days, she is talking up a storm and makes us laugh out loud with all the sounds she makes. Yesterday, she also took about 7 steps. I guess that's called walking! She can climb down from the couch on her own and has good balance. It takes her no time at all to feel comfortable around people. As you can tell from the pictures, she loves the water and is pretty fearless when it comes to water and heights. She has also been pretty vocal lately about what she wants. Faith is a smart and sweet little girl and has the cutest dimples when she smiles.

Grace is easy-going too. Right now, she definitely has the younger sister characteristics. She is not as quick to share but she is learning. She has the sweetest, softest little singing voice and she loves to dance (sway) when she hears music. Grace is quite the little charmer and has a smile that will melt your heart. She is a little more shy at first with people but she warms up in no time. Grace is feminine, gentle and soft in her movements. She is also taking several steps and stands on her tippy-toes. She often repeats what her sister does and also loves affection, especially from her Daddy.

Our beautiful daughters are more than we could have ever dreamed or hoped for and we are enjoying each day with them immensely. They each have different personalities and we are having so much fun discovering their unique gifts and characteristics. We are amazed by God's provision and think He really outdid Himself! Yes, life has changed for us but we were so ready for it. Our children have enriched our lives in a way that only they could.
Our hearts are more than full.

20 May 2007

First Family Pool Day

Faith testing the waters.

Christian and Calvin.

Faith trying out Christian's cool boat.

Grace gets a ride too.

Faith just wants to walk on the shelf.

And there she goes!

"It's nice and shady under this umbrella."

Faith loves the waterfalls.

Here comes Captain Grace and her first mate Faith.

Our cousins, Calvin, Christina and Christian came over to visit us on our first pool day. Thanks guys, for a fun afternoon! The kids loved the pool. They'll be swimming in no time!

19 May 2007

1, 2, 3, Jump!

The pool and backyard are finally done and this afternoon was the first day we could actually swim in our pool. While the girls were napping, Morgan and I jumped in for the first time! It was kinda tricky getting the timing just right for the camera but we managed to do it on our second attempt. We thought we'd be silly and make funny faces on our jump! Here are some pictures of our first attempt, followed by our second. We'll have our first official pool day with the girls tomorrow.

Our first attempt... I was a little late :)

Getting ready for our second attempt.


17 May 2007

Little helpers

Organizing and boxing-up the shoes.



Daddy & Gracie kickin' back.

The girls helped us box up 70 pairs of children's shoes yesterday. They enjoyed playing with some of the cartoon character ones and even helped out by packing the shoes in the box, once we found its matching pair. Our friends, Dave and Janet are planning to take many needed items, along with these shoes (which we got on ebay) to an orphanage in Mexico this weekend. Thanks guys for taking time out of your busy schedules to do something wonderful for children in need. You are a great example of Christ's love to us and to others!

15 May 2007

No cooking tonight!

Faith is all smiles.

Grace up-close.

Mommy & Daddy after dinner.

For the last few years, Morgan has been going to an annual two-day conference for work. They have meetings in the morning followed by golf in the afternoon. Not really hard work but a great chance for Morgan to get out and play golf. It just so happens that every year the conference is held at a nearby resort where we now live. Conveniently, this year, Morgan did not have to commute or stay overnight. The other great thing is that I got to go to the closing dinner party, once again. Grandma & Grandpa came over to babysit and the girls were asleep by 7:15. I have to say, the twins have been little angels while Daddy has been away and us girls have had lots of fun together!

13 May 2007

My First Mother's Day

As part of my Mother's day gift, I got to spend the afternoon leisurely shopping. I know it may not sound like fun to some, but these days, I hardly get out to shop much, unless it's for groceries. I have a very thoughtful and generous husband who not only took care of the girls while I was gone, but he also surprised me with a day at the spa to use whenever I want! I am thoroughly enjoying motherhood and so proud to be the mother of two amazing and delightful little girls. There is nothing better than the laughter and smiles of my daughters. Thank you all for your lovely well-wishes today! It's wonderful to be a part of the Mommy Club!

12 May 2007

Mother's Day Lunch

I invited my mom and Morgan's mom over today to celebrate and honor them with a Mother's Day lunch. I enjoy cooking so I looked forward to the opportunity to make something special for my two moms. Although Morgan and my Dad were ready and willling to babysit while we enjoyed our time together, the girls took a late morning nap so it worked out perfectly. Instead, they got to relax by watching golf.

On the lunch menu: Rib eye steak and grilled veggie salad with mixed greens, gorgonzola, and lemon vinaigrette. And for dessert, carrot cake and coffee. Yummy!

I am so blessed to have two incredible mothers. My relationship with my mom has blossomed since becoming a mother myself. We now talk to each other almost everyday and that has been wonderful. As for my mother-in-law, I couldn't have asked for a better one. She is a very special woman and I have learned so much from her loving example. I am blessed to call these two women "mom" and I thank God for them today and everyday.

11 May 2007

Adoption Day in Korea

The girls watching Daddy do some yardwork in the courtyard.
It is Adoption Day in South Korea today. The day was designated last year in an effort to promote domestic adoption. South Korea has had one of the highest rates of overseas adoptions since the Korean War. Every year, about 2,000 babies are adopted overseas, accounting for approximately 60% of all adoptions from Korea. Being that South Korea's adoption program is the oldest, organized international adoption program in the U.S., many American families choose Korea when looking into adoption. Korea has become one of the top 10 economic powers in the world today and as a country, the government is trying to encourage more Koreans to adopt domestically. As I've written in the past, the adoption program dates back to the early 1950's when U.S. servicemen were fathering children with Korean women outside of marriage. Illegitimate, mixed-raced children, had little place in traditional patriarchal Korean society. Since then, South Korea has come a long way. It is their hope to minimize the number of children who are adopted overseas and eventually close the international adoption program altogether. There are many rumors about when and if this will actually take place but that still remains to be seen. We understand the country's thoughts behind this initiative and we think it's important to encourage more South Koreans to adopt. Obviously though, what matters most is that the children go to loving and secure families, no matter what country that may be.

10 May 2007

The new black?

OK, I've been keeping my thoughts to myself regarding this topic and thought that I might escape from addressing it altogether but since I'm up at the crack of dawn this morning, here I go....

Recently in the media, there has been much talk of celebrities who have adopted or plan to adopt from foreign countries. This, according to the entertainment media, has somehow made adoption a "trendy" thing to do. The picture to the right is a T-shirt that was offered at the store Urban Outfitters. I don't know if it is still available in the store but due to so many complaints, it is no longer available online. The T-shirt reads, "Adopting Is The New Black." It implies of course, that adopting is a hip, trendy and fashionable thing to do, almost seasonal, like wedge sandals or bermuda shorts.

Am I offended by the T-shirt? No, not really. Offended is a pretty strong word and in this case, I don't think a T-shirt is going to dictate my day. I'm the type of person who usually (although not always) prefers to educate rather than take offense to ignorance or lack of sensitivity. Is ignorance a strong word? I guess so but we are all ignorant to some things.
I have seen all kinds of T-shirts printed in the past; poking fun of Asians and women. I'd like to think that I have a sense of humor, even self-deprecating humor. I think there are bigger, more important things in this world to get riled up about, more so than a mere T-shirt. How many people do you know that would actually wear this shirt anyway?

Earlier this year, Madonna was criticized in the media for her intention to adopt a 13 month-old Malawian boy. Not that I'm a huge fan of Madonna but anyone who goes to a foreign country, sees the unfathomable poverty and disease, and then is actually moved to do something about it is OK in my book. So she's a rich celebrity? I say, who cares? How many of us even knew a country called Malawi existed before this? I have to believe that her intentions were pure and from the heart, not unlike anyone else who decides to become a parent through adoption. So she had the means to give millions of dollars to help Malawian orphanages? More power to her. The same goes for the celebrity couple Jolie-Pitt. Although the celeb world is shaky at best, I appreciate the work they are doing and the "attention" they are bringing to children in need, all over the world. I just wish the media would stop calling their children their "adopted son" or "adopted daughter." I'm sure to them, they are just, "my sons and my daughter."

Times are changing and the family unit is becoming more colorful and blended. We don't have to have millions of dollars to help those in need and I realize not all of us are called to adopt. Many people use their time as a means to help. Just think if more people did?
The world would be a better place for it. Not because I think it is some noble act of self-righteousness, but because it is something that God says is right to do.

"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

To imply that adoption is a trendy thing to do is obviously coming from someone who has not been through the heartache of wanting children, the mounds of paperwork, fingerprinting, background checks, interviews and the long waiting process. By the same token, simply because the topic of adoption is talked about more today than ever before, I am grateful. I think part of the reason I continue this blog is a way for me to share the beauty of adoption with others. The T-shirt and other implications are yes, insensitive to the adoption community but MOST IMPORTANTLY, it is insensitive to the child. Adoption is a decision that is made from the heart, propelled by hope and love and received with nothing but great joy. We have had people tell us how "noble" or "generous" we were to adopt two children and in all honesty, that makes us a little uncomfortable. Ask any parent who has adopted and their answer is the same, WE are the ones who are covered in blessing. Some have even asked, "What would have happened to your children had you not adopted them?"
Our answer: Some other lucky family would have had the privilege to parent them and call them daughters. Good thing we know that God intended our precious girls for us :)

There are other ways to "adopt" or sponsor a child. Check out Compassion International at http://www.compassion.com/

08 May 2007

Love in truth

Not long ago, someone actually asked me this question..."You wouldn't want your kids to grow up and go searching for their birth mother one day or go back to Korea would you?" I have to believe that question was asked with good intention but it also came from a lack of knowledge, driven by fear. It got me thinking that maybe others out there have that same fear, not only for us, but also for every adopted child they meet or know. Although we have thought about this scenario and know our response to it, maybe I can use this opportunity to share our stance with others. We are aware that our children will naturally have many questions about their adoption as they grow older. Our intention is to answer those questions with as much clarity and honesty as we can. In fact, we plan to tell our children how we came to be a family as soon as they can understand. Hopefully, this blog will serve to answer some of those questions for them in the future, too.

As humans, I think we have a natural desire to know where we came from. For some, it helps us identify who we are. Some people find out that their history is not exactly pleasant or what they would have wanted but nonetheless, the knowledge of it is something that is inherent in most of us. Be that as it may, our first priority to our children is truth. There are no secrets, nothing to hide. We became a family by love, hope, faith and the grace of God. First and foremost, we hope to instill in our children that they are daughters of God. We are all His children and He is our Heavenly Father. God had a plan for their lives even before they were even born, just like He had a plan for us. We hope that their true identity will lie in that fact. Given that fact, we also still realize that there may come a day when they want to know more.

We have read stories of adoptees returning to their homelands, searching for and finding their biological parents, only to end up feeling more disappointed. On the other hand, we have also read stories where the adoptee found a birth parent, moved back to their birth country and started a relationship with them. By that same token, I should also say that some adoptees have no interest in searching for their biological parents. Every person is different and we can not predict how our children will feel as they grow older. Do we hope for one scenario over the other? Honestly, no. The way I see it, our children are on loan to us. After all, our goal as parents is to teach them to become independent adults. Whatever they chose to do, we will be there to help, encourage and support them. As their mother, I cannot say with absolute certainty, but I truly hope that if that time ever comes, I do not take it personally.

Maybe it's because we wanted to have children so badly and we waited such a long time, but the way I see it, to be a parent is a privilege, not a right. In reality then, they are not ours to keep forever. Our goal as parents is love them, shepherd them and nourish their souls the best we can. We pray to God that through us, they will learn to know, love, trust and serve Him in all that they do.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear. " 1 John 4:18

"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands."
-Kristi Larson

05 May 2007

Happy Children's Day

Although today is Cindo de Mayo here in the U.S., in Korea,
it is a National Holiday called Children's Day. Children's Day or "Orini Nal" is a South Korean national holiday celebrated on May 5. It was founded by the Korean children's writer Pang Chong-hwan in 1923 as a way to instill in the children a sense of independence and national pride. Children's Day highlights the dignity of children and their need for love, care, and respect. It is also a day to honor adults that have contributed to improving the lives of children.

People dress in new clothes and set out food to worship their ancestors. Children of all ages are celebrated during Children's Day and the entire community is involved in the festivity. Many cities have parades and public activities. Museums, zoos, amusement parks, and movie theaters offer free admission to children. Traditional games, such as "yut" are played. Gifts are given to children from their parents and from stores that the children visit during Children's Day.

Tae kwon do demonstrations are often part of the Children's Day activities. Tae kwon do is a form of self defense that originated in Korea more than two thousand years ago and is a commonly taught martial art in the United States. It involves more sharp, quick kicking than the Japanese style karate, and was showcased for the world in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

Traditional foods are an important part of every Korean celebration. Rice is eaten with all meals in Korea. Kimchi, which is pickled cabbage with strong spices and bulgolgi, which is thinly sliced broiled beef is a large part of the Korean diet. Fish, shellfish, seaweed, and other products of the ocean are prepared in many different ways to serve on Korean tables. Korean Americans are one of the fastest-growing Asian groups in the United States. Although Children's Day is not a national holiday in the U.S., it is celebrated within Korean families on May 5. Korean American communities celebrate with performances, special foods, and activities, and Korean cultural schools hold day-long programs to celebrate children.

We are off this morning to enjoy our visit with my parents, grandmother, and aunt.

04 May 2007

Doing Lunch

Last night, I got to spend some quality time with my husband and today, I got to go out to lunch with my dear friend, Emily. I'd say I'm having a good week! Morgan insisted that he'd be fine alone with the girls so after making everyone's lunch this morning, I left the house with confidence! This was my first time doing something fun on my own since the girls arrived and I must admit, it was wonderful to just hang out with my girlfriend. Emily is always fun and easy to be with so it's not hard to have a good time. We took advantage of the sunny day with a nice breeze and enjoyed our delicious lunch on the patio. I look forward to doing lunch again next month! Thanks, Em for taking time out of your busy day!

Morgan said the girls did great, ate their lunch and had no problems. I am very blessed to have such a sweet hubby! I missed the girls though and it was wonderful to get hugs from them when I came home. :)

Another Date Night

Grandma and Grace.

Faith loves to put things on her head for balance.

The entrance to the restaurant.

Enjoying our quiet night.

Grandma & Grandpa graciously offered to babysit last night while Morgan & I enjoyed a night out. It couldn't have come at a better time. It's been a little stressful working with the contractors and landscapers in our backyard. We can't wait till the outside is finished so that we can start enjoying it, instead of making decision after decision. Morgan's parents came over to play with the girls before they went down around 7:00. They also got to see Faith and Grace in action as we recorded them taking several steps on video! We really enjoyed our dinner and the opportunity to relax, unwind and try a new restaurant. Over dinner, we were saying how very fortunate and blessed we are to have family and friends nearby to babysit anytime. As usual, the girls didn't make a peep and Grandma and Grandpa said that it was the easiest couple of hours they've spent babysitting! Lucky us! We so appreciate it!

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