Friday, September 2, 2011

Hearts and Hospitals

First off I want to thank everyone for praying Desmond this week! For those of you who do not know today Desmond had to go to the hospital for the cardiologist to get a better look at his heart. Last month we went to the cardiologist to get his heart checked out. When he was about 3 weeks old he had surgery for ASD (typical hole in the heart that closes up in newborns, his did not close up) and CoA (narrowing of the aorta). While this surgery went well, it just wasn't good enough. Today they did a catheterization to look at the narrowing of the aorta.

His procedure was supposed to be at noon, however we had to wait for all of his blood work to come back and he didn't go in until 1:30. Thankfully he fell asleep before he realized he hadn't anything to eat or drink for 7 hours.

The actual procedure went well, it took about 3 hours. After it was all done we had a pow-wow with the doctor. He let us know that Desmond has two options: to put in a stint, then when Desmond grows more put in another, then another, then another and so on, or surgery again. We are opting for surgery again, which will need to be scheduled in the next 6 to 8 weeks.

Right now we are just hanging out in the room trying not to move for the next hour and a half. It's not going all that well :(. Hopefully he will be still and then he can get up and walk around. What I would really like is for him to go to sleep, hopefully soon...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

One Month Home

One month home and Desmond is a mostly happy guy.
One month home and two ear infections later we are finally getting into a routine.
One month home and my husband is back at work and I am home full time with Desmond.
One month home and I have yet to finish writing thank you notes for the all the wonderful people who have helped us out with the adoption.
One month home and Desmond is still not walking! He takes about 4 steps and then either gets unsure of himself or realizes he get where he needs to go faster if he crawls.
One month home and melt downs only seem to happen about once a day.
One month home and Desmond is sleeping in his own room.
One month home and we have had some unexpected car expenses, which means I have to find a part time job sooner than expected.
One month home and I filled out my first job application in over 6 years, for some reason I can't seem to remember how much money I made at all my previous jobs going back farther than 6 years; I used to know this stuff!
One month home and I really hope I get one of the two part-time jobs I have applied for (Please pray that I get one of them they are both something that I would like to do and both have perfect hours for our family.)
One month home and my family comes next week to meet Desmond!!
One month home and my husband and I are going to go out on a date sometime when my family is here, I think I'm more excited about this than my family actually coming to visit...shhh...don't tell them though.
One month home and Desmond doesn't get up until 8am!! Seriously this is fantastic!
One month home and Desmond lets me enjoy at least 2 cups of coffee every morning while he plays quietly.
One month home and Desmond loves music and loves to dance. At this exact moment he is pounding out some original compositions on the piano.
One month home and I refuse to take Desmond back to the splash park by myself until he is walking! He insists that I take his hand and walk him all through the fountains and water, it gets old after about 10 minutes and then there is a melt down and it's time to go.
One month home and I purchased a blow up pool for the back yard that is much better than dragging him all the way to the splash park (at least for me).
One month home and Desmond loves hanging out in the church nursery! Of course they have way cooler toys than at home!
One month home and the English words Desmond is saying are: meow, mama or mom, Michael (totally refuses to call him dada, I think it's because I call my husband by his first name all the time.), Desmond, what, amen.
One month home and Desmond knows where his belly button is. He also knows where his nose, toes, eyes and ears are but he pretends he doesn't.
One month home and we are a family of 3, plus 2 cats.
One month home today.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Desmond has been home almost a week. I can't believe how fast time flies, it seems like just yesterday we were starting this process. I think back to a year ago and we weren't even considering having children let alone adopting one from halfway around the world. This past week has been very trying, I will not lie. Let me tell you about the week...

Last Tuesday I set off from my hotel in Seoul for the agency offices in Korea. I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get there. I was carrying two big bags, one was filled with gifts for Desmond's foster family, the other was filled with donations for the agency. My appointment to meet Desmond was at 1:30pm and I wasn't sure how far the office was from the subway stop. I arrived at the office at 1:10pm.

I took the elevator to the second floor and met with social worker, she said that he and his foster mother were already there. Gulp! Already? I wasn't ready, I could still turn around right?

Here is the face the greeted me when I walked into the room.

He was all smiles and he started to feed me some cereal. His foster mother noted that he never is that happy around strangers. I honestly can't really tell you what I was feeling. I am generally a non-emotional person and during highly emotional situations, like this one, I just shut down completely and show absolutely no emotion whatsoever. I'm sure his foster mother thought I was a strange person!

After a few minutes talking about Desmond and asking about his schedule, eating habits, favorite foods, comfort items we left to head downstairs to see the doctor. The doctor was busy and we had to wait in the waiting area. During this time he let me hold him for a few minutes. He also got to ride on a little bike and did not want get off of it when the doctor was ready. He started screaming bloody murder when he was forced off of it. His foster mother leaned over and said: "Oh yeah, he has a temper." Ummm...yep he does.

He was checked out by the doctor and I was given a piece of paper to sign. This was it, once I signed that piece of paper we were now responsible for him. I actually hesitated, so much so the social worker pointed out again where to sign. I signed it. That was it. There was a flurry of activity to get him strapped to me in the carrier and to flag down a taxi for me. In the meantime he was crying and screaming, his foster mother was crying hugging me and him, and I just stood there numb.

The cab came, good thing it was an older friendly fellow who tried his hardest to get Desmond to stop crying. I was back at the hotel by 2:10pm, it happened all so fast. Desmond ended up crying himself to sleep and slept for about 2 hours. This was a blessing for me. I could just sit for a little bit and digest what just happened. I just became a mother.

While in Korea Desmond and I just hung out together in the hotel room and got to know each other a little bit. This was a good thing because I could get a sense of when he was tired and about ready to have a melt down. On Thursday of last week we packed up and headed to the airport. (Yes, I did handle all of that stuff by myself with a kid.)

The plane ride wasn't that bad, but I am glad it is over with. He slept for 5 hours woke up and screamed for about an hour, stared off into space for another hour then slept for another 4. I was so thankful that he slept so much. I have heard horror stories from other adoptive parents that their children literally screamed the entire time!

These first few days have been rough, there have been times that I've doubted our decision. Especially last Friday and Saturday when he cried non-stop for about 24 hours. Part of it was grieving and part of it was a double ear infection we didn't realize he had. We are new to this parent thing. Besides he didn't show any signs of being sick, no fever, no tugging at his ears. And to top it off we were told to expect fits of crying because of the grieving. In hindsight we probably should've gone to the ER.

Yesterday my husband came into the playroom where I was trying to get Desmond to stop crying and play. He said: "When he is 17 he is so going to hear about his non-stop screaming." I said: "Please can he be 17 now?!" As I thought about this statement I had not only just wished my son's life away but I wished away all the memories we can have together. Today I thought that I don't want to wish away my child's life because now is the time instill values, teach him right and wrong, if we miss these times then we've totally missed the point of parenting and instructing a child. Do I wish that he had not cried those first few days? Of course, but I needed those first days of crying to learn more about being a mom and to learn more about my son.

Both my husband and I know adopting Desmond was/is what God wants for us and our family. By doubting that I am doubting God. His plan is perfect and I want to be in the center of His plan. Everyday will get a little better and everyday is better when we are in the center of God's will.

Friday, June 3, 2011


There are so many changes going on in our lives right now. Yesterday was my last day of full-time work. I actually had never thought that I would leave my job. I love my job. I love working with the people in the office. There was never a time when I really didn't want to go to work. I had been there for 6 1/2 years, not my longest tenure at a job, but it was by far one of my better jobs.

Now I am going to be a stay at home mom. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this, not even sure if I am completely ready to be a mom. I am really hoping some maternal instincts kick in soon! I'm sure that when I finally get to meet our son, there will be some motherly feelings. It's hard when all you have is a picture to love. When one is pregnant they can feel their baby growing inside them, it's there with them always. Not the case in adoption. But that's okay by us, this is the path we have chosen to grow our family and I'm sure once he is in our arms we will know 100% that we have made the best decision.

I am currently in the process of getting the house ready and baby proofed. It's hard to think like a 18 month old and try to figure out what will be enticing to play with. His room is almost ready. There are still a few things that I would like to get done in it to make it feel more like his room.

We really don't have much time to get things done, so it is a good thing yesterday was my last day at work because I am leaving for Korea in just 6 short days. It still kind of seems surreal, like it's not really happening or I feel like it's still some months away in the future. Soooo not the case!

God has blessed us with a few extraordinary things in the past couple of weeks. First off, I'm pretty confident that our adoption is paid for! We are still waiting for some money to come in that was offered to us by some very generous people, but with that money we will be able to finish paying off the fee! Also, we received a grant from an organization that helps families who are adopting children with special needs. What was great about this is that our agency applied on our behalf and we didn't even need to lift a finger! This was great news since we had already been turned down for a couple of grants that we had applied for.

Another blessing is that my husband seems to have more vacation time than what we previously thought. His employer is changing insurance carriers and they had a meeting with the employees to discuss the change. In the packet of info was an overview of all the benefits the employees can receive. Both him and I noticed that he was not accruing as much vacation as he should be. I went back and checked his pay stubs and noticed he was accruing vacation as if he was still working in his 6th year...he is in his 12th. So as to not bore you with all the math, my husband now has an extra 16 days of vacation! That's 3 weeks! He is now able to spend a little bit more time at home when I get back from Korea. We are super excited about this as we were just planning on him taking that time off without pay. God's timing is just so perfect! I'm getting all teary-eyed just thinking about how wonderful God is!

I'll be sure to post more about my trip to Korea to meet/pick up our son.

Monday, May 9, 2011

God is Good!

This past Saturday was the fundraiser for Desmond. My husband and I didn't quite know what to expect. All week long our friends from church kept e-mailing and texting me with items that were being donated for the silent auction. All week long we were amazed by the outpouring of generosity from complete strangers. I think we were most concerned about the turn out. We knew that we would be there, my sister, my mom and my niece made the trip from Colorado. Then we knew my husband's family would be there, our friends from church and a few other stragglers. So, we knew we would have at least 30 people there :). Saturday came and I was kind of anxious. I asked my husband how he felt and his response: "Fine, why do you ask?" "You aren't nervous or anything?" "No, why would I be?" Men are just so calm sometimes!

Why did I worry? We had over a hundred people attend the event! There were people there we had never met before! At the end of the night we were exhausted, but we had a great time! I was excited to meet new people and felt that God was at work the entire time.

So are you ready for the unofficial total? I know there is still some money trickling in from people who could not be there, but I think this is a somewhat accurate total...$3658!!! How fantastic is that? We now just have to come up with just under $12,000 before July! Although this seems to be a huge amount, we know that God has things under control!

I wanted to publicly thank everyone for helping with this fundraiser. A special thank you to Melissa Karas and Jessica Philips for organizing the whole event! I also wanted to thank our church! We go to a wonderful church with wonderful people who have such a heart for adoption. We are amazed and in awe of how God is working through people in our church. Thank you to everyone who donated items and thank you to those who purchased those items.

One funny thing that happened...The centerpieces for the tables during the event were goldfish, which I happen to think is an excellent idea. Well there seemed to be an over abundance of goldfish leftover even after making an announcement that whomever wanted one could take one, or several. After everything was cleaned up for the night 34 goldfish managed to make it into our car. My mom said that she would just take them and flush them if we didn't want them. As a lover of animals I just couldn't bring myself to let her. We got home late that night, I just happened to have two aquariums, I got one out and just dumped them in there and left them for the night. Seeing as how I didn't have any fish food on hand there were four casualties the next morning. After church on Sunday we stopped by the store and got some food. There are now approx. 30 happy goldfish in our larger aquarium. So now we have 33 pets in our home. At least the goldfish do not shed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

More Good News!

The good news just keeps on coming! Desmond's Emigration Permit (EP) has been submitted to the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Korea. This is a HUGE step in the process. Basically this is the piece of paper that says he can leave Korea. Just so you know how big this is, every year the Ministry of Health and Welfare only issues a certain number of EPs each year. Last year agencies were running out of them starting in June. Each year the Ministry lowers the number of EPs that they issue, so there will less EPs issued than last year. Most families get word from their agency towards the middle of the month if their child has been submitted for an EP. However, this month it seemed like no one was getting notified if they were being submitted. There was a lot of talk out there on the adoption bulletin boards that maybe, just maybe, agencies were beginning to run out of EPs. I was just a bit worried because well, I'm quitting my job in June and to not have an EP this year would mean that we wouldn't be able to bring Desmond home until next year. But very quickly I was reminded that God is in control. He has a perfect plan for our lives. So the thought was put out of my mind.

Imagine my surprise when I opened up my e-mail yesterday to find that not only had Desmond been submitted, but it happened on April 6th. Which means once his EP is approved we are talking just a few weeks before he can come home. I honestly didn't even expect for him to be submitted until at least May if not June. So now we wait for all the paperwork to be completed and in approximately 10 weeks, if everything goes smoothly, our child will be coming home! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making Progress

There is a flurry of activity going on around here. As I type there are many people organizing a fundraiser for the adoption of Desmond. I cannot express how grateful Michael and I are for our church family who are willing to volunteer their free time to organize this fundraiser for us. We are also overwhelmed by the generosity of our community, people who do not even know are donating some fantastic items for the silent auction. In case you don't know the details here they are:

Pasta Bar & Silent Auction
Saturday May 7th 5:30 - 8:30pm
Willow Creek Baptist Church
720 Army Post Rd
West Des Moines, IA
Cost is $5/person, $20/family

You will also notice our little thermometer has gone up a bit! We are excited to see it go up! Also, our US government paperwork has been approved. Currently it is hanging out in New Hampshire at the National Visa Center. In the next couple of days it will be sent off to the US Embassy in Seoul where work will continue on getting Desmond's visa in order. I honestly did not expect this paperwork to be approved so quickly. The USCIS told us it would be about 75 days from the day they received our paperwork until approval would only took 31 days! We are still optimistic for me to travel in July to pick him up! Just a few more months of waiting to go.

Michael and I are very thankful to God for all that He has done so far. We also know that He is not done working in our lives and the life of Desmond. Thank you to each and everyone of you who are praying for us during this process.

Friday, March 18, 2011


....Desmond Beom-Seok Barker! We can now post a picture of our little boy for all of you to see. And we have finally decided on which Irish name we are going to name him, and please refrain from calling him Desi! I'm not a huge fan of Desi, but love Desmond. (Yes we are Lost fans, but this did not have any bearing on our name pick :))

Now a couple of pictures of his cuteness!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's a Boy!

Yes, we are adopting a boy! We received word last week that child we asked for will indeed be ours. I absolutely wish I could tell you his name, but we haven't got one picked out yet. This is what I can tell you about him...He is just a little over a year old. He weighs approx. 23lbs and is 30" long. I wish I could show you pictures, but we can't until all of our acceptance paperwork is filled out and sent to the agency. But trust me when I tell you he is super cute!

I have today and tomorrow off of work to just fill out paperwork for the adoption. When this all done and we are off to pick up our kiddo I'll take a picture of the stack of paperwork just so you can see how much is required!

Also this week my boss and I came to agreement that my last day will be June 2nd. Eeek! He is giving me my full three weeks of vacation after I quit, so I'll still be receiving a paycheck for the entire month of June. Hopefully our kiddo will be ready to come home at the beginning of July. I am somewhat fearful of the unknown, but I know God's timing is perfect.

We are working on some fundraisers and I should have more details ironed out in the next couple of days. In the meantime please buy some yummy coffee. If we sell 15 bags of coffee the month of March we get a coffee basket in return. The basket is made up of 4 bags of coffee, a travel mug and a bumper sticker. I would really like that travel mug because my favorite one just broke! If we meet this goal I will be giving away the bags of coffee to the people that buy the most coffee! Please check out our store by clicking on the picture to the right.

Now I am off to make sure all our acceptance paperwork is order for us to sign in front of the notary later this evening...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Year Without Television

It has been a little over a year since we decided to cut the satellite and not get a digital box for our somewhat ancient television. Honestly it seems like we've never had a T.V. Here are a few changes I've noticed over the past year.

1. We have rooms in our house that we do not use. Our house is deceptively big, one might say it's kind of like a Tardis. (For those of you who've never seen Dr. Who you are totally missing out, it's a great show, and it's where I got the Tardis reference from.) While we use most of the main floor, living room, kitchen, dining room our bedroom...etc., we do not use the basement. We used to use our basement. Down there we have two more family rooms, a bedroom and bathroom. One of the family rooms has a nice fireplace (wood/gas) and that is where we used to watch T.V. Now it is the room we walk through to the let the dog out the back door. It's also the room where I occasionally walk on the treadmill that is currently parked in front of the fireplace. The other family room has a wet bar and we've NEVER used this room. It is currently getting a coat of paint in an attempt to brighten it up so that we will use it. The bedroom is sometimes used a guest bedroom.

2. The T.V. that we do have has not been turned on in over 4 months. We have a Wii, we haven't used in over 4 months. We used to have an Xbox 360 but my husband sold it to my brother because he is saving up money to buy himself a new computer.

3. We need another computer. I've noticed over the past few months that each of us wants to use the computer at the same time and it has become increasingly difficult to "share" :)

4. We watch a ton more movies and watch a series of shows at one time. For example, right now we are going through Battlestar Galactica. It's easier to watch them whenever we want and there are no commercials. We very rarely watch anything that is currently airing.

5. My house is actually cleaner and generally stays clean. I know that this will change when we bring our son home, but overall I've felt more motivated to keep things clean. Sometimes I can't sit down and relax until it's picked up and neat. Before we cut the television I would go down into the basement and ignore the rest of the house.

6. We fellowship more. Over the last year we have really built lasting friendships with other people. We tend to go out more with these friends and spend time with them.

7. We spend more time at church. Before we said no to T.V. we wouldn't really go to the mid-week bible study. There were sometimes we would go (during re-runs) but most of the time we would stay home and not make an effort. It is a little strange that we wouldn't go because our church offers a meal before the mid-week service; I have no idea why we didn't go to this before.

8. I feel more organized. I actually have time to organize things and then keep them that way. This kind of goes along with number 5.

9. My husband and I spend time learning new things and spend quality time with each other. We actually look at each other have conversations. This didn't happen very often when we did have T.V.

10. We don't miss the T.V. After the initial shock and withdrawal we have come to find out that we really don't miss having it.

I'm sure if I thought about it some more I could list some more changes that have happened over the past year. We still get weird looks from people who don't understand how we can live without a television. And sometimes when we are out and about and we pass a television we have to just stop and stare at it. It's like our brains have forgotten what one looks like. We do plan on keeping the T.V. that we do have so that on those days when I just can't take it I will park our kiddo in front of it and put in something for him to watch. Of course that is if our television even still works.....:)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Few Updates

I know it's a big blogger no-no to say that you're sorry for being MIA for the past 6weeks, but I truly am sorry. Now that that is out of the way we can move on.

Update #1 - Holidays

My husband and I drove out to Colorado for the Christmas to visit my family. We might as well have kept driving onto Arizona because that is what it felt like. It was 60 degrees on Christmas day. I didn't even wear my coat the entire time we were there. Even at night it still felt rather balmy compared to Iowa.

I'm sad to say that we did not get to go skiing, budget and time were kind of tight. We did take our dog with us and I'm pretty sure she had a wonderful time with all the other dogs (there were 4 total). I'm not quite sure the other dogs really liked having her around. She is like the party girl, always looking for a good time. The other dogs are more like the old fuddy duddies who are in bed by 9pm. There were several occasions where she was the only one outside because none of the other dogs wanted to play with her. When we got back home she was very depressed. There was a lot of moping around with heavy sighs. She really is a moody dog.

On New Year's Eve we celebrated Christmas with Michael's family. That was a nice relaxing time. We also got our first baby gift; a Green Lantern onesie. Yep, now my husband and our kid have matching t-shirts.

Update #2 - Adoption

We are starting our home study on Tuesday! We received enough money for Christmas to pay the $2500 for the home study. This is such a huge blessing! Although I'm totally freaked out about a stranger coming into our home and asking us all kinds of invasive questions.

Once our home study is complete and approved, which takes about 6 weeks, it is then sent off to Korea. Normally we would wait until we are matched with a child, but we actually have already requested to be matched with a child on the waiting child list. The waiting child list is a list of children who have some sort of special need and are posted online to see if anyone out there is interested in adopting them into their family. I can't give you much info on the little guy we are asking to be matched with, but I can tell you he is 12 months old and is super cute. We are waiting for some genetic testing to be done, at the request of our agency. As soon as that comes back we will know 100% if we will be able to adopt him.

Our next adoption financial goal is the money for the government forms. These will cost us $890. Right now we have $145 toward this current goal. I've updated our thermometer off to the right and have added a new one for this goal. If you would like to help us reach this goal you can donate to the adoption in several ways. First is our coffee fundraiser, there is a button off to the right. Just click on the picture and it will take you to our personal page where you can purchase coffee and for every purchase we get a portion of the proceeds. Also, we have a donate button as well, just click that and you can just donate any amount you see fit. The third way you can donate is to do so directly to our agency (although this will not go towards our government forms mini-goal). Let me know if you would like to donate directly to our agency on our behalf and I will give you the scoop on how to do so. In donating to our agency on our behalf it counts as a tax deductible donation because they are a non-profit organization.

Well I think that is all for the updates right now. God has truly blessed in being able to pay for things when we need them. Thank you so much for your prayers as I know many of you are praying!