Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You can take the girl outta Korea...

but you can't take the Korea outta the girl!

Little Miss Zoey wanted to dress herself today and I thought her choices were oh so colorful!

Afer our A/C was running all day yesterday, the weather finally cooled off this morning enough for her to wear her newly crocheted fingerless gloves in turquoise...

and the infamous Crocs with socks...(which I understand is quite controversial, but I do it too in cold weather!)

and of course her grey leg warmers, which you may be thinking aren't colorful at all, but she only wore these because her striped hot pink ones were dirty so I wouldn't let her wear them...

and her oh so colorful, "fower dess" as she calls it, as in 'flower dress'...

topped off with what we like to call her 'coat of many colors'...

and of course, we must be modest, so she chose the smallest bloomers she could find, ones that her foster mother sent home with her and fit her at nine months old. She wanted to wear her black and white polka dot ones, but again, those were dirty. (maybe I need to do some laundry, huh?!?!)

but it all made for one very content little daydreaming girl...

who seems well on her way to rockin' it like a K Pop Star...

Gotta start somewhere, right?!?!?

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Blast from the Past...

I don't know if it's because of the holidays or what, but I've been feeling extra sentimental lately and having lots of fun looking back at the past!

I came across this picture recently of my family flying to the US from Korea in 1984. My very first time on a plane and my very first trip to the United States!
That's me next to my dad in the front row (hard to believe I am Zoey's age there!) and then my older sister and brother on the next row, then in the third row, you can just make out my other sister, next to the empty seat, meant for my mother, who is taking the picture.

I was adopted as an infant, but lived in Korea for two years after that and officially became a US citizen once in the United States.

Check us out! My sister looks absolutely adorable, doesn't she?!?!? And then there's me, who is lucky to be wearing a dress or else I would think that some little boy snuck in the picture...aw, good times, thanks mom for the great haircut.

And trust me, it got worse...the perms started next...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Not Me!!

So, what a lame blogger I've been this past week, huh?

I have no idea where last week went and didn't realize I'd fallen so far behind!

So I thought it would be fun for a little week in review, 'not me' style...

Well, it was not me that shaved a mohawk on my 5 year old son's head for some extra fun this Thankgiving holiday.

It was also not me that half considered giving myself the same hair cut just so I didn't have to wash it anymore.

It was not me who allowed my children to stay in their pajamas just about every day all day, sometimes with or without baths.

It was not me who didn't say no to one thing my children asked me to eat all week, which may be why they looked like this the majority of the time! (as she stuffs another fruit snack in her mouth)

It was not me who was so relieved to have my niece and nephews come and visit for the majority of the week because they play so well with my kids and give me a bit of a break!

It was not me who laughed harder than the kids while watching 'Merry Madagascar' and it's not me that has been quoting phrases from it all week! ("Happy Juli-anuary!")

It was not me who told my husband to just wrap Zoey in his shirt to walk the 30 steps home in the freezing wind to our house because she had spilled something all over her top.

It was not me who only slept 2 1/2 hours before waking up at 3:15am for Black Friday, then stood in line in the freezing cold outside Target, only to end up having an employee yell at me while everyone watched about not wanting to price match an item. (I got it after talking to a manager, who was in a much, much better mood!)

It was not me that watched my sister and her friend down hamburgers from Jack in the Box at 6am. (Eeewww!)

It was not me who didn't get a nap that day and it was not me who slept an 11 hour night only to then stay in my pajamas and lay on the couch all day!

It was not me who orderd an early Christmas present for myself after my sister told me about Photoshop Elements on sale for 1/2 price!

It was also not me who rigged up some 'girly pants' for my puppy, who, well, had a visit this week from Mother Nature, just so she could finally come back in the house. (I'll spare you the details on that and what would be just wrong as a picture)

It was also not me who ate a turkey sandwhich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner two days in a row.

It was also not me who forgot to take tons of pictures this week!

But, it was me, who was so grateful to have such a great Thanksgiving holiday with family I love so much!

And it was me who thanked God for the many blessings in my life!

We have so much to be thankful for this year!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy National Adoption Day!

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

What I Know

Recently, I stumbled upon a blog written by a girl named Sylvia.

As I read it, I realized we had a few things in common...we were both born and adopted in 1982 from Eastern Social Welfare Society, and we both happen to have daughter's named Zoey! Even spelled the same way!

As I continued to read on, I realized she was in the middle of a very big life changing experience.

She had recently found her birth parents.

And some sisters, aunt, uncle and cousins, the list goes on.

Through the magic power of Facebook, and since I love connecting with other adoptees, I was able to find her and we emailed a few times back and forth.

Today, she will meet her birth parents. In the flesh. Face to face. Here on US soil.

I am so thrilled for her to have this opportunity.

While I know that not every adoptee wishes to or is able to meet their birth parents, or members of their birth family, I am one that would like to.

But I have come to realize that I may not get that chance in this lifetime.

My story is like many others, I was abandoned outside an all boy's orphanage at about a month old. I was found, and cared for for a few days before my parents took me home, as they were living in Korea at the time. (yes things were a little different back then!)

I lived in Korea for two more years with my family before moving to the US.

I wish I could use this rockin' passport photo on my current one!

I had not been back to Korea since then, before I traveled there in April of '09 to pick up Zoey.

I did visit with a post adoption specialist while in Korea, who was able to give me a few details that I didn't know, but for the most part, I knew everything she told me about my adoption.

I'll be completely honest.

I had always wished there would be some long lost letter that my birth mother had written and left in my file after tracking down the agency I had been adopted from.

Or her name and address so I could find her if I ever made it back to Korea to seek her out.

Maybe I could meet her while I was there, as if she had been waiting all these 27 years for me to return to Korea and call her up.

It would all play out like a movie...adoptee returns to Korea to adopt her daughter, then meets her birth mother...they meet, they keep in touch...sounds so simple, right?

Needless to say, that didn't happen. And clearly, it's just not that simple.

When I was 15, I wanted to search for her.

I even wrote a letter.

A letter that was still in my adoption file when I went to pull out documents for our homestudy.

Even reading it today, makes me tear up. The girl who wrote it sounds sad, almost desperate. She's trying to find something about her past. Not because she's unhappy with her present, but because there are unanswered questions that keep popping up.

I don't remember being that girl for long...and I don't remember the urgency with which I wrote that letter.

I don't who she is, why she gave me up, who dropped me off at that orphange, why they didn't bring me in, why they didn't identify themselves, where they are now, if they wonder about where I am, or if they wish to know.

A person could make themselves go crazy with the endless questions.

But as I sit here today and write this post, I find myself more at peace.

Until I went back to Korea, there was always the 'what if'. What if there was more information, what if someone in my birth family had left their information at the agency, what if I was able to find them, what if my birth parents were dead, what if, what if, what if.

Now, I have more answers.

I know there is no information on any of my birth family.

I know that it would be very, very difficult to track them down.

I know that I can be whole without finding them.

I know that I will never stop wondering about them.

I know that being abandoned does not define who I am.

I know that I may never be able to meet the person who gave birth to me.

I know that some days facing this reality will be harder than others.

I know that some days I will go without thinking about it at all.

I know that God has a plan for me and it may or may not include finding my birth mother.

I know that I can be okay with this.

I know that I can be happy for other adoptees who seek out their birth family and find them.

I know that I can relate to those who wish to find them and cannot.

I know that I can respect the other adoptees who do not wish to search.

But most of all, I know that I am right where I'm supposed to be.

With loving parents, amazing siblings, a wonderful husband, two gorgeous children, and a great extended family.

That, I know for sure.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shiloh, NO!

Remember this?!?!? She was just five weeks old here!

Well, now she's this! 10 months and quite the terror of a puppy, but oh so sweet!

You would think her name is Shiloh, NO! 'cause that's usually the word that follows her name... :0)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lunch with Brother.

Today we had lunch with brother at his school.

In case you didn't know, Zoey calls Braedan 'brother'!

It was pajama day at school after the holiday yesterday (good call!)
and things seemed pretty relaxed at school today.

Zoey showed her school spirit by rockin' her Wiederstein Elementary shirt
and her squishy face.

Now that I know how not a big deal it is to eat with your kindergartner
at lunch, we may do it more often!

(I admit, I was envisioning a nightmarishly loud room
sitting at a table with screaming kids that spewed food from their mouth
onto your food every time they tried talking to you!
But I was pleasantly surprised to see many other parents there
and we sat at our own little round table completely undisturbed
by the other students, except for the occasional hello from kids we know from church! The noise was indeed deafening, but it made my kindergartner's day!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring Veterans

This picture was taken May 5, 1991 as we greeted my father who was fresh off the airplane from serving six months in Operation Desert Storm.

(How's that sweater working out for ya, Kim?)
"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."-Elmer Davis

Thank you to all those brave men and women who have served and are currently serving, especially my father and grandfathers, as well as other extended family, our country.

My grandfather, Arthur Hughes Williams (1921-2000), served in World War II with the Navy.

My grandfather, Edward William Roland (1923-2004), also served in World War II with the Army/Air Force.

Proud to be the daughter and grandaughter of these three amazing men!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monkey-ing Around!

Look who decided to pose for some pictures today!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cucumber Kimchi!

I've been wanting to try this for a while now after starting to make my own cabbage kimchi.

I no longer buy kimchi from our Korean market as I like my homemade version better, but have been wanting to try it with cucumber for a while now.

It's the same method as the cabbage, with just a few different steps...

First, I bought the pickling cucumbers at our local grocer today. A little more than I wanted to pay, but would have paid the difference in gas to get our Korean market, so it all worked out. I think these cucumbers are just firmer, seedless, and hold up a little better. If you don't want to pay the higher price or can't find Korean cucumbers (which are perfect for this) then you can try the hot house or English cucumber. I wouldnt' recommend just regular old cucumber as I think they will get mushy.

Now, with my cabbage kimchi, I soak it in salt water for a few hours before mixing it with the kimchi paste, but was worried that if I did that, the cucumbers would get mushy to start out, so I skipped that step, even though some recipes still recommend it.

I may try it next time...if you do want to do this step, just soak the cut up cucumbers in super salty water for a few hours...

So to prepare, just slice into two inch sections, then in four spears like the picture...

And onto the paste. Here are the three ingredients I get at my Korean market. The ginger, Korean chili flakes (unlike no other!) and the fish sauce. I'm sure you could use all "American" substitutes for these, but this is what I use.

Take a whole head of garlic and peel and put into food processor with about a Tablespoon of ginger, 1/4-1/2 cup of chili flakes, 1/4 cup of fish sauce and about a teaspoon of sugar and blend till it's a thick paste.

Use a large bowl or pan and mix all together.

Dump into a container that can be made airtight and so the cucumbers just fit.

Then pour a cup or two of water into the pan you mixed in and scrape all the goodies together and stir to make a sort of "paste" water. This will be your cucumber kimchi "brine".

Then pour over cucumbers and wah lah! Seal in an airtight container and leave out at room temperature in a cool dry place for up to 24 hours. Then refrigerate.

I plan to pour off a little of the liquid once the cucumbers have fermented a bit so that the kimchi paste will "stick" a little better to it and give it a little extra flavor.

I'm also thinking next time I will probably let it sit a bit in just the paste first before adding the liquid.

It's all an experiment with me!!

We're having Bi Bim Bop tonight for dinner, so I thought this would be a good side dish for it!

Or try it with some homemade yakimandu or jap chae!

If I had it my way, I'd make all of it and have a little buffet!!