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George loves to swim! #ohanameansfamily

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International Adoption Forum

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Julie and I will have the honor and privilege to speak at this even promoting international adoption a week from this Sunday. If you have questions about international adoption and are in the central Iowa area, I’ll invite you to come. And if you come up to me afterwards and tell me you are here because of this blog (or you saw my invite on Facebook), I’ll buy you a cup of coffee and let you ask me anything you want about international adoption.

Hope to see you then!

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Whoops

When we started this blog, our goal wasn’t just to communicate about our adoption, but to also communicate all the fun things that happened after we got home. In fact, we even gave out this address to people to be able to follow along on our journey. The problem was, life gets busy and hectic, especially with two very high energy boys. We were very lucky to get a photo on Facebook or Instagram at times. That said, I think I found a way to make this happen.

So, life is busy if not a little hectic. George has become quite the little swimmer (Luke swims, but like most of his life, he swims to the beat of his own drummer). We are excited that God has molded us into a real family, warts and all. And with that, we are excited that we are moving forward.

My goal is to update the blog periodically with stories or facts about the boys, but more importantly, if this works out well, I hope we can post more photos on the blog through the magic of the internet. Regardless, we want to keep everyone who supported us to get George home in the loop as we continue to raise him to know and love Jesus and his family.

‘Ohana Day 2015

Wow, hard to believe – one year ago – we walked from the guest apartment at Ilsan down to Glory House to pick up George – and have him join our family. That first day was rainy in Ilsan, so we pretty much had a quiet day in the apartment. Today was a pretty normal day as well. Although we celebrated at dinner with the same meal we had for our first meal together. Hot dog, ramen, mandu soup. I forgot to take any photos during the process, so here is a photo of the leftovers as well as George polishing off his 2nd bowl.

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There is so much that has happened this past year – yet so much of it is hard to describe. When people ask how it has been, compared to what we thought it would be – the answer has stayed the same. Not as easy as we had hoped, but not as challenging as we had feared. I wouldn’t have chosen some of the challenges – but I wouldn’t change it at this point either. Probably the best lesson learned with both boys – is keeping busy is a good thing!  Here are a couple photos from our days out and about this summer.

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Yesterday we were able to finalize the adoption here in the states including an official name change! We kept his Korean name as his middle name, and he is now officially George Gang Cackler. It was important to us to keep the name his mother gave him. We also love that the name Gang means “River” This is extra meaningful as we talk about the story of Moses and his adoption – his mother sending him to be raised by another culture to save his life – and ultimately the lives of many. A difficult choice also made by George’s mother.

In some ways – it just seems like George has always been here. Yet when I think where we were a year ago – it’s amazing how far we’ve come! We are constantly being told how amazing his English is – considering his speech delay, this is a true answer to prayer. Yes, there have been challenges, but thanks to sleep deprivation fog – I think I have forgotten many of them.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support! But now it’s time for celebration cupcakes!

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Mother’s Day Letter – 2015

Last year I wrote a letter to G’s birth mother to go in his file in hopes that she would check in with the agency. I guess this has become a bit of a ritual for me to write this letter on Mother’s day. Almost a Mom to Mom chat about what has happened over the last year. After much prayer and reflection – I have felt led to share this letter (with Korean family name information removed) in hopes that it will be helpful for others, and reach other birth mothers. I know how helpful it was for us to read books of letters written by birth mothers in understanding their thoughts and decisions. I have nothing but love and respect for this woman I have never met, and those like her that have had to make this choice. Happy Mother’s day to you.

To my son’s First Mother,

There is so much I want to tell you, I don’t know where to even begin. George (Korean name removed for privacy) is beautiful and active. Yes, we have kept the name you gave him and his family name as part of his name. We want him to have that piece of you with him forever. I can’t imagine how you must have worried about him when you had to relinquish him in order for him to receive health care he needed to survive. Survive he has. He runs and plays. Now that spring has come – he loves to play outside. He is constantly learning and exploring. He also loves school and swimming lessons. . He is even learning to read.

There are so many things I want to tell you about how he has grown in this one year we have known him. He is funny and caring but also had an adventurous side. Can you believe at 6 years old he already LOVES roller coasters? George LOVES life and being active. As I am writing this – he is playing with his brother and is laughing. Not just a little giggle, but a full body laugh. He brings joy not only to us, but to everyone who gets to know him.

Please know we love him. He is ours, no different than his brother. But yet, he is yours. We cannot forget the decisions you made to give him life, not only through birth, but through placing him so he could receive the health care he needed to live. We know you love him with a mother’s love as well. We continue to pray for you. That you are well, that you will receive this letter, and that you may see him yourself someday I pray that we may meet, and you may see and feel your son and I will have the opportunity to thank you in person.

Blessings,

Happy Mother’s Day

It’s been too long since we updated the blog – life has been hectic to say the least. What have we done since February when we last checked in?

We went to Disneyland! In mid April, we went to the Happiest Place on Earth where we played really hard and had some really good bonding time. We all had our moments, but I think we took giant steps on the trust chart. Not a day doesn’t go by where the boys don’t ask if we can ride a rollercoaster today.

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Otherwise, the end of the school year brings with it the school program. George had a starring role on one song banging a drum! He did exceptionally well and we are so proud of him and how far he has come in our first year home.

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Oh, I almost forgot! We also had a birthday in there! George turned six in March. Daddy had to work, but the rest of them went to a Prarie Learning Center and to see how they make doughnuts at Krispie Kreme!

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It’s hard to believe that a year ago, we were in Korea, meeting our little guy for the first time face to face and relishing the blessing of the extra time getting to know him. It was so hard to come home without him, but in a few weeks, we were back and we weren’t leaving without him.

So, for all you who continue to walk this road with us – thank you. If you have made it this far – Happy Mother’s Day. May God bless the house mothers at Glory House in Il San who loved George and blessed him while he lived there. And May God bless George’s birth mother who made a hard choice to make sure her little boy would live. We are grateful.

And to his incredible Mommy who packs his lunch for school every day, puts band-aids on his ouchies, cuddles with him in bed and is his biggest advocate in life – thank you. George has no idea on how blessed he truly is to have you in his life.