Friday, July 24, 2015

Foster Update

I have plenty to say, many thoughts to share, advice to give, but at the end of the day, there's so much going on I don't have the time to write it down. I used to journal daily and I love going back and reading my thoughts. So here I am, summer breaking, and I thought I'd give it a go again.

John and I have plenty of things going on in our lives! We were officially certified as foster parents in November and we got our first placement call right after my birthday weekend.  Our social worker called us about a 6 year old boy that I will lovingly call Kid 1. Kid 1 was the youngest of 3 boys pulled from their home in the LA area. He was with us for 6 weeks. And, MAN, were those 6 weeks tough! He was dealing with his world being flipped turned upside, major anger issues, missing his mom and brothers, and he didn't know how to handle it. We loved him, set boundaries, created very specific house rules, gave him obtainable goals (with rewards), strict consequences, and tried to be as consistent as possible. He, like many other foster kids dealing with trauma, constantly peed his pants. Every. Single. Day And night. Sometimes, several times a day. Our entire house smelled of urine and it was driving us crazy! So we busted out the sticker chart and tried to re-potty train him. But surprisingly, if you were to meet him, you'd never think he had potty issues. You'd think "Man, this kid talks and walks like he's a grown man." He grew up too quickly with 2 teenage brothers and was so confident, outgoing, and street smart. But with us, he wanted to just watch cartoons, cuddle (with me), read Pete the Cat, and was terrified by the tiniest things! Especially Chuck E. Cheese. Man, he hated that mouse. He taught us so much about grace, patience, and loving unconditionally. And I don't think I've ever prayed that hard in my life! I was so emotionally drained, and his behavior so unpredictable, John and I just prayed that we would survive one day at a time. Looking back on that time now I can confidently say that that was the hardest 6 weeks of my life. After he left, I decided that we shouldn't take another placement for a while. I thought we needed several months to recuperate, but that changed a few weeks later.

In January, we got a call for Kid 2. A sweet 4 year old that was removed from her home where she lived with her mother, and mother's boyfriend. She, like Kid 1, was dropped off at night, and walked right into our house like she owned the placed. She was curious, opinionated, very verbal, and super sassy! Surprisingly, she attached to me pretty quickly so everyday was filled with hugs, kisses, and tons of snuggle sessions. Like Kid 1, the trauma of being put in a stranger's home may have been too much to handle.  Kid 2 peed and pooped in her pants almost everyday. Potty training all over again! But with her, she was very embarrassed and apologetic. She would always ask us, "Are you mad at me when I pee my pants?" In my head I'm screaming "YES! WE RAN THE WASH A GAZILLION TIMES." -  but then I'd realize that's what we signed up for. We signed up to lovingly serve these kids and point to Christ in everything we do.  Washing clothes several times a day isn't the end of the world. We loved her and served her the best we could and 4 weeks after moving in with us, she went to live with her aunt.  The night before she left, she cried because she was going to miss us. She sobbed in her bed and asked us again and again why she had to move. The following day, I made sure not to cry in front of her, but as she drove off I sobbed like a baby. It was so hard saying goodbye to her I told John, "I can't do this anymore!" We told our social worker we weren't ready for another placement and took time to grieve.

We didn't agree to another placement for 2 months or so. In May, we got a call for 2 girls, sisters ages 7 and 3. Kid 3 and Kid 4. Their youngest sister was placed in a different home. These 2 girls were the sweetest, most well behaved girls! Having these two girls was easier than one Kid 1 or one Kid 2! They bickered like sisters do, but they also loved like sisters do! Like Kid 2, they attached to me pretty quickly and wanted to cuddle all the time. They missed their mommy but they knew that John and I were here to take care of them for a while. I was told that these girls would maybe with us for longer than our other placements, maybe even up to a year. So I mentally began to prepare myself for a year with 2 girls. Well, if I learned anything in the past few months, is that you have to be flexible because everything is so unpredictable when fostering kids. John's favorite thing to say is, "The only thing that is predictable about the foster care system, is that it is unpredictable." Three weeks into their stay, Kid 3 went for what I thought was just a routine court hearing. Court transportation usually calls around drop off time to confirm drop off location, but oddly I never received a call for drop off that day. After placing a few calls, I find out that their cousin was granted custody that very day, and Kid 3 was released straight from court to her family members. By this time I'm crying tears of frustration, trying to explain to Johnny that we have to pick up Kid 4 from preschool, pack up all their belongings, and meet the family in a parking lot to say bye. At that moment I felt so unappreciated by the courts. We loved these girls. We fed them, bathed them, hugged them, prayed with them, held them as they cried for their mom. Yet, you don't even allow us a chance to pack up their personal belongings together or have time to say a proper good bye? I cried so much that day, and as usual told John, "I can't do this anymore!"

Well, here we are in July and we have our 4th placement.  But this placement is super special! We have Kid 2 back in our home! Her aunt was unable to care for her for 2 months while mom gets her life together, so she's back with us. She has matured so much over the past 5 months and we aren't dealing with some of the behaviors and potty issues we had the first time around. She is still super sassy and opinionated, but tries her best to be obedient. We are hoping and praying that at the August court day she will be reunified with mom!

So that's it! That is our foster story up to now. In the future, I hope to write about our experiences and  some advice for soon to be foster parents on topics like what to expect on the first night, or how to handle visitations with bio family, or how we handle meal time. Hopefully it can help soon to be foster families or inspire someone to become a foster parent!

Speaking of which, if you are interested in becoming a foster parent, you can go straight through LA county. Or use an agency like us! We work with Koinonia Family Services, and they have branches all over California.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Year 5

He proposed. We got married. We celebrated year 1, 2, 3, 4 (forgot the film that year), and (just celebrated) year 5. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

It was another great year of marriage for us and a lot has happened in a year. One major thing, we became certified foster parents and had 2 placements. In November we welcomed a 6 year old boy into our home and said goodbye to him 6 weeks later. We then welcomed a 4 year old girl and said goodbye to her 4 weeks later. And now as I think back, I guess the 4th anniversary picture isn't as important as our 5th anniversary picture. You can't tell from the picture but having foster kids aged us! HA! And that little Polaroid picture will be our reminder that, by God's grace, we survived a year of marriage with kids!

To quote John Piper - "Marriage. The roots are deep. The covenant solid. The love is sweet. Life is hard. And God is good". Our roots are deep, and our covenant solid. For sure our love is sweet, and gosh darn it, life was hard this past year. But man oh man, God was (and is) so good.

I'll have to share more about our fostering experiences... but for today I'll just close by saying - Praise God for another wonderful year of marriage to a wonderful husband! <3

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Things In the New Year

John and I are hopeful for the changes that may happen in 2014. We aren't sure what God has planned, but we have specific things we are praying for.  Growing the family, is one thing we really hope for.

We have another 8 hour training to be certified to be a foster parent coming up on Saturday with Koinonia Family Services. We are so excited! We get to meet other families who have a heart for adoption and see some friends we have met at previous trainings. Hopefully, we'll be done with all the classes, finish the home study, and be certified soon!

Also, I don't know if this is TMI, but John and I started our second round of IUI. Unexplained infertility has been something John and I have struggled with for years and I'm totally comfortable to talk about it freely (as seen here and here). I know it can be a sensitive subject and people don't know how to react to some information I share, but I'm thankful for my friends, family, and church family who have openly loved us, prayed for us, and cried with us.

Thinking about all that's going on in our lives, and new things happening this year, I've been reflecting a lot about how the struggles the past few years have pushed me closer to the Lord.  I heard this Matt Chandler sermon (here) and it reminded me that even in this time of "suffering", God is good! Matt Chandler says,

"God is not a genie in a lamp, and you are not Aladdin. Any preaching and teaching from the Word of God that does not take into account we live in a fallen, broken world and we will have very sad days, we will have very hard days, we will, at times, feel like all is lost, is not preaching the full counsel of God and is doing no one any favors. The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is God will be enough on the sad days, and God will sustain us when we are weak. God will sustain us when we are confused. God will sustain us when we feel dry and desolate and angry and empty. God will sustain us."

Praise God for people like Pastor Chandler! His sermons are playing in the house and car often. Also on repeat, this song by Shane and Shane. I dare you to watch it and not weep. Such a great song and then add Pastor John Piper to that?! Amazing.

If you're the praying type, please pray for John and me. We want to build our family but more importantly, we want to learn to be content in God in whatever situation He has ordained for us.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Merry (belated) Christmas and a Happy (belated) New Year!

The last time I updated was September?! GEEZ. A lot has happened since September but the most significant thing that happened was my sister had a baby! Sweet baby Madison, or as I call her Mini, has changed our lives. She's so stinking cute, I CAN'T HANDLE IT! My other sis and I pretty much torture her and most definitely smother her. Big time.

Cutest baby of life. The end. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

cousin love

This blog entry is long overdue. I can't believe summer is already over, and the new school year is going onto day 7!  Looking back on my pictures and realized I never blogged about having my cousin in town.

My dear cousin came from Korea to study at Berkeley for the summer session. She was able to come play in LA for the 4th of July weekend and experience a good ol' American 4th of July.  Her vacation was sandwiched by the baby sisters knee surgery and older sister's delivery date. We had to make some adjustments to our plans to accommodate those two, but we still had some major fun.

We picked her up from LAX and went straight to In 'n Out. Oh yeah! After a late lunch, we went to visit our grammy's burial site. It was her first time there, and for us, we just love just chillin' on the grass. And of course, we had to have a photo sesh.


The next day, we went out to the Santa Monica area and did some major eating (again), and she got to do some major shopping.


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The day after that, we ventured out to the Getty sans momma. She was majorly tired by day 3. But the pregnant lady, and crutches girl trekked on! We had a low key picnic with (brown rice) kimbap, made by the momma, in the Getty garden.

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I love spending time with my family. So bummed she couldn't stay longer. Miss her so much!  Love you, Sujin! Come back!!!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

showering bebe carrier

It doesn't seem like it's been that long since my older sister got married, but we are already celebrating the baby to come. Sheesh! Time flies! Planning a shower means that the 7 bridesmaids were reunited.  I think we threw a pretty awesome bridal shower, and I think we were pretty awesome again in throwing a baby shower!

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My sister and brother in law went to France for their babymoon so we knew a French themed shower would be perfect. With the help of my BFF, this super cute RSVP and invitation was created. As you will see, the shower was inspired by the French, old school silent movie, The Red Balloon. Watch here


The shower was held at the Culver Hotel and since it was such a beautiful space, we didn't have to do much with decorations.


For favors, french baguettes and tiny packets of Nutella were placed for guests to grab as they left the shower.


It then turned into a mini maternity photo shoot!  Isn't my sister super cute with that belly?!

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Guests kept busy by chatting, eating, and scribbling on diapers. Jenny and I kept busy with the cutest kid ever! Cutey Sienna somehow snuck into this adult only party. I'm glad she did because seriously, she's a hoot!


And my fave picture from the day...

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*Pictures taken by Cakies 

Here's a video the lil sis made:

Bebe Carrier from jenny kim on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

chi town

After 2 days in the 'burbs, John and I said goodbye to his family and headed into the city.  We didn't have much time to explore and our only agenda was to eat the best food possible.  There were specifically four places we wanted to try and all the places had giant "CLOSED" signs on the door. We totally forgot it was Memorial Day weekend!

With some recommendations from friends and the older sis, we found some good places to eat.

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We stuffed our face at The Purple Pig and then 2 hours later we ended up eating a "snack" at Quartino.

The last time I was in Chicago was when my friend Han and I flew out to visit our friend Ellen.  She showed us around and we visited all the tourist spots and even got screamed at by security for trespassing to see the Michael Jordan statue after hours. Good times.

That was over 10 years ago so Millennium Park didn't even exist back then!  We didn't have much time in Chicago, but I knew I had to see "The Bean" in person! It wasn't a far walk from our hotel so before our flight out, we hustled over, got a few pictures and we were off to head back to Cali.


My Johnny HATES taking pictures.  He is the king of photobombing but he does not like the pictures where he has to smile and be normal. You'll usually hear me yell "be normal" before we take pictures and it usually takes a few shots because he doesn't listen (like here)! But that day, the stars aligned and he was being just a good sport!  He let me set up the gorillapod and waited patiently as I prepared the perfect angle. 

Thanks for being a good sport, bubz.  Now only if you could be normal all the time :) ... <3

Our trip was too short and we didn't get to see and eat everything we wanted in the 1.5 days we were there! I guess that means we gotta go back! ;)