I was sent this picture of Liam today, and it was totally unexpected!! I was SO EXCITED! He is pictured with his foster mother and his birthday care package. He's holding the bear that I recorded my voice on, and that is so comforting to me to see him with it. I am just so thankful to see his face. He is also stylin' with a more decorative cast.
We love you, Liam! God-willing, we are coming soon!
We were expecting for Liam to be submitted this month (June) for his Emigration Permit to leave Korea. I was estimating that he would be submitted in June, approved in July, and we'd travel sometime in August. That had been the trend, from looking at timelines and talking to others.
I was in contact with the head of the Korea program via email last week. We were talking about Liam's leg and recent pictures, and so I took the opportunity to ask her if we had been submitted for EP (we were supposed to find out any day). She wrote me back and told me that the Korean government was not allowing any EP submissions or approvals for the month of June. I felt like someone had literally kicked me in the stomach, and all of my air went out. She said that the Holt Korea staff doesn't know why this happened, but they will be able to resume the EP cycles at the end of July. She estimated that we would be in the next batch submitted.
I know that paragraph might not seem dramatic or like major news, but it is. To our knowledge, this hasn't happened before, with the government not accepting any submissions; taking a break, if you will. No one knows what to make of it. There are ALL KINDS of theories out there. Some are saying that the EP's for the year have run out and they're not telling anyone (remember, Korea limits the number of children that can leave their country per year); some are guessing that they're close to running out and want to space the EP's out so in essence, they run out later in the year (it looks better on paper); some are saying that this is just a random break to get caught up. No one knows.
What does this mean for us? Well, we are praying that we're in the next group to be submitted. We're praying that will happen in July, like our agency told us. This will most likely mean that we'll be traveling in or around September rather than August. The biggest thing is that lots of families won't be traveling this year to get their babies, and that's heartbreaking and terrifying all at the same time. We are not guaranteed to travel this year. The reality of that is hitting me very, very hard. There's a good chance we will, but in adoption you never know.
Please pray for the entire process, that we will be able to rest in God's perfect will, and that God intervenes in the Korean government's minds and hearts. We are specifically praying that we'll be in the next batch of submissions to the government, and that Liam will be approved to travel this year. As you can imagine, I've had an incredible range of emotions this week. But we are so confident of God's hand in this, and He knows exactly when we need to get Liam! It's all in His hands.
I was THRILLED beyond words when I glanced at my phone this afternoon - our agency sent me the pictures I had requested!!! And they're ALL of Liam's face! I can't stop looking at my sweet little guy, and it makes me ACHE to get him home! This is the first time I've seen him smiling, and it just made me beam with joy to see him. I'm still PRAYING that we're submitted in this next batch for his Emigration Permit!
Since I love photography, I had really been thinking about what I wanted to do concerning our "family day" with Liam - when we meet him for the first time and take him into our arms. I knew I wanted video and photos, but I really wanted to hash out in my head how to get good footage both ways. I always thought in the back of my head, "In a perfect world, I'd find an English-speaking photographer who lives in Seoul, who isn't expensive, who would take pictures for us and just give us the files."
I decided to just Google it to see what happened. I searched "Seoul photography" and immediately came across a blog for the Seoul Photography Club. I was intrigued, because I read that it was a bunch of "expats." That's a term used for people who are living in another country, but they're from somewhere else. I saw that the blog hadn't been updated in about a year, so I knew it was a longshot. I left a comment, explaining my desire to have good photos of this important moment.
Imagine my surprise when I received an email from a member of the Seoul Photography Club! He said that he would put me in touch with one of their members, which he did. Dylan and I began emailing, and he is just the kindest guy. He's from Australia and has lived in Seoul for six years. He's an amateur photographer, but he's incredibly talented and has a ton of side projects. He's going to meet us at the Holt Reception Center when we pick up Liam, and then he even offered to take pictures of us around Seoul!!!! I was floored!
I truly feel like the Lord just handed me this gift. Kurt is still going to video the whole thing, but we won't be stressed about getting just the right shots with the still camera. I can't even tell you what a relief that is for me! I want to be incredibly present in that moment, and I know we'll just cherish those photos. The hardest thing will be keeping Dylan informed of our travel plans - because WE don't even know what they'll be! Hopefully I'll be able to keep a good guesstimate going based on when our EP is submitted, approved, etc.
Speaking of, we're still waiting to be submitted for EP (emigration permit). I am just REALLY PRAYING that we're submitted this month!!!!! It would just be so amazing to get the news that we've moved a bit in the process.
On the bright side, I've been told by the sweet social worker in Korea that we will receive updated photos of Liam! I just CAN'T WAIT for them to arrive!!! It will be like a little burst of energy for me to get through the rest of the wait. She said that she saw him the other day and he was still smiling and happy, even with his leg injury. That's my sweet boy! I also sent Liam's care package today! I really hope it gets there.....I wasn't confident in the postal worker. However, the Lord knows how important that package is, and I'm trusting that it will get to Liam safe and sound.
Yesterday, I was pulling into my driveway when I glanced down at my cell phone and saw I had a missed call from Eugene, Oregon, which could only mean one thing: our agency needed to get in touch with me. I listened to the voicemail and from the sound of the Holt worker's voice, I knew something had gone wrong.
"Yes, I'm very sorry to inform you of this, but Jae-Ho has been in an accident and has a small fracture in his leg."
Well, my first reponse was gratefulness, because from the first part of the message and the tone in her voice, I literally thought my son had been killed. Her voice was that grave! I was so relieved. I called back immediately and talked with the worker, and she told me that Liam had been playing with another Holt child at the reception center. Apparently, Liam's foster mother and this other child's foster mother are sisters, so the kids are familiar with each other and seem to play fairly often. While playing, the other child tripped (or something to that effect) and fell on Liam's leg, creating a small fracture. He's getting a cast on his leg today. :( I help up just fine when talking to the worker at Holt, but when I hung up I just cried. It wasn't that I was worried about his care; Korea (and Holt) are known for going above and beyond to care for children. It was just the reminder that I wasn't the one taking care of him. Also, when the worker and I discussed where we are in the process, she said "Okay, well we have a ways to go before travel, so he should be healed up by then." While I'm glad he'll be healed up by then, it was the last thing I wanted to hear that we "have a ways to go." I know that in my head, but I just didn't want to have to deal with those thoughts.
However, a sweet friend brought me cookies and a flower, and I was able to just process the emotions throughout the day. I did email our worker back and formally request pictures. If he's going to be in for check-ups, etc. for his leg, I want PICTURES OF MY BABY. They said they would get me some, and I hope they're not just close-ups of his injured leg. While I KNOW it's a precious little leg, I'd LOVE to see his face! So I'm praying that we get some good pictures of our little boy.
Please pray for Liam. An almost-one-year-old does NOT enjoy a cast, and I hope he's not in too much pain. I miss him so much it hurts, and I'm just hoping more than anything that travel isn't too far away.
I mentioned earlier that I'm putting together Liam's birthday care package. Since it's a birthday care package, it's extra special, and I'm including more things. I wanted to find something that I could record my voice on (I've seen the books), but when I went to the store, nothing felt right. I also knew that at almost a year old, Liam won't understand the words of a book. It would also need to be translated. Then I saw a lullaby bear at Hallmark, and it's perfect! It allows you to record the lullaby with the background music, and I knew it would be a universal language for my son.
The song was "Rock A Bye Baby," but I made up special words just for Liam.
Our precious baby, we love you so
We can't wait to hold you and watch you grow
You are a treasure from God above
Our hearts are so full and bursting with love
Welcome to our adoption blog! We are the Lancaster family, and we believe that God is calling us to adopt a baby from South Korea! This is the place where we'll document every step of the way, even in the very early days of seeking God's will. We truly believe that God is weaving this story between our family and the East, and HE is the thread that ties us together! We believe that HE is the reason adoption is in our hearts, for through Him WE have been adopted (Galations 4:4-6). We are blessed beyond measure to see this tapestry unfold!
Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Proverbs 25:25