Friday, February 24, 2012

In All Fairness, We Were Warned.

Hello friends, and Happy Friday to you all!
Whew! This has been a LONG week! So glad to be home and relaxing on my couch.

As most of you have seen, we just got some more updated pictures of our Baby Jae-Min. He looks as precious as ever. And, his first year check-up was passed with flying colors!! He is happy it seems, and very healthy.
That news put a smile on our faces this week.

But, I also experienced a first this week that didn't make me smile. And, in all fairness, we were warned this would happen...
For the first time, I had someone make a comment about adoption that really just rubbed me the wrong way.
I, along with many other AP and birth parents, are here to say the following are unacceptable when questioning someone about the adoption of their child:

1) How much did he cost?
Well, HE didn't cost anything, his adoption did. And, that is completely rude. In the words of my friend who has a son adopted from Korea..."This question gets NO response from me." Let's say you just had a C-section and came home from the hospital. I walked in and said, "So, how much did she cost?" Really?

2) Where did he come from? 
He came from God, like all children. He came from the love Travis and I have for each other. He was ADOPTED from Korea, South Africa or etc. I understand this one may make people say, hmmm, I think that's an innocent question. But, if my son was standing beside me, and someone asked me this question...well I think both of our hearts would hurt. Adopted children just want to be from Kentucky, or anywhere else they call home. They don't want to be reminded all the time that they were born somewhere else that to them isn't home.

This are just two I have encountered lately. I am certain I have many more ludicrous comments coming my way. In general, I want to believe that most people are kind at heart, and have your best interests in mind. And, yes, most people are just curious. But, damn, sometimes curiosity does kill the cat. And, rudeness will get you no where.

Luckily, for Travis and I, but mostly for Baby J, we are surrounded by good people. As a matter of fact, just this week, we received several Lifebook letters in the mail for Jae. Letters from his Uncle Adam and Aunt Linds, Uncle Todd and Aunt Danni. And Cousin Brody sent him a sweet handprint picture. (So, sweet.) We also got letters from Gammy Mary and Papaw Tim. Gma and Gpa Zopfi's are on their way.

And, I read these letters, and my heart swells. The love that is and will surround our baby one day will make his world a better place.

Here is a small excerpt from my brother and sister-in-laws' letter that turned on the sprinklers in my eyes:

"We are counting down the days until we can finally meet you, hug you, play with you, spoil you, and laugh with you until our bellies hurt! There are so many great memories that we cannot wait to create with you!."

Such power in love.

For the very few negative comments I hear about our adoption, there are a hundred comments that are music to my ears, and more importantly, to my soul.

Travis and I know who loves us, and what matters in our lives. And, we know what doesn't. We will make sure Baby J does too.

Have a fantastic weekend and much love,


Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Waiting is the hardest part

One of the ways I sold Sarah on creating this blog was to insert Tom Petty lyrics and references into the title and the posts. Honestly, I just thought "Into the Great Wide Open" and "The Waiting" were perfect titles for what we were just beginning to embark on and experience, but it didn't hurt the cause in getting Sarah on board.

But it goes without saying that any future parent probably feels those emotions of uncertainty and anxiousness. But with adoption it's an even longer wait and more unpredictable.

So, while the last year has been a journey of its own, the next year will prove to test our patience even more. 

We were actually referred Jae-Min's profile the week of our fundraiser in Lexington and it took us three months to make his announcement official. And you may be wondering, "why the wait?" 

We needed to have his medical files thoroughly reviewed and any fears alleviated. The last thing we wanted to put ourselves through was having to numerously repeat why we would have had to deny a referral and have anyone else get attached to a baby's picture we might not end up adopting. 

Thankfully, that didn't happen. And I also thank you all so much for your outpouring support, which I had confidence in but that has really helped Sarah overcome all her tiny fears (adjustment, advanced age, and whether our baby from another country would be as accepted).

But it won't get easier. From the pictures below, you can see how much Baby Jae has already grown up. And every glance at each picture is also a reminder of the things we are missing out on (first steps, first words, etc.). Fewer diapers and fewer sleepless nights are decent trade off, though. 

So, thank you for all your continued encouragement and support. It's made a huge difference in our uncertainties just a month ago and the confidence and pride we are sharing today.

Just after birth, which wasn't easy.

He was 8 lbs, not small, so maybe a toddler outfit?

This was at about 5 months.

And finally, this is what he looked like at 9 months, which was about 3 months ago, and at about the same time we received his referral with the pictures above. So, from the time his referral picture was taken above, until we received it, he had already grown so much.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Parent Pride--Baby Turns 1 :-)

Good evening friends.

Well, it has been about a week since we announced that baby Jae-Min is going to be a part of the Hubbard/Zopfi family!!

And, we are still so excited! I'm finding it hard to sleep at night :)

What I am loving the most though, is what I never knew new Moms and Dads must feel?!

I LOVE hearing people say, "he is so beautiful!" or "he is just so darn cute, Sarah!"

Ahhhh, I am reeling in so much new mom pride. I can't help it! I am soooooo in love with my little guy, that the fact that you think he is cute too is just icing on the cake!

This past week has been fun for us. Our families and friends can finally talk freely about this boy. And, no secrets are being kept. I have really enjoyed sharing the news with my students. In typical five-year-old fashion, the kids are genuinely happy for me. Without passing judgement, they are simply glad to see Ms. Sarah smile. And, that sweet love warms my heart day after day.

I do want to say again, that it will be likely that Jae-Min won't be in our arms until around the end of the year or later. :((( I know it is not what we want to hear. But, we have to accept it if we want any clarity over the next year. We have to believe that no matter if our boy is 20 months or 24 months, he will be ours. And, the love of a mother and father will be the answer to everything he needs in a forever family.

Please feel free to ask us any questions! I know the timeline is confusing. And, we are happy to share what we know.

HAPPY EARLY FIRST BIRTHDAY my sweet boy!!!! We know your loving foster mother will shower you with gifts on this very special of days. In Korean culture, the first birthday is HUGE! It is a right of passage so to speak. It is called the "Tol"

I also found myself thinking of his birthmother today. Woman to woman, I am sure wherever she is, she is wondering about him. Where is he, and how is he on his first birthday? What has he seen and experienced in his first year of life? I hope she finds peace in the choice she made. I pray she is happy and successful, and enjoying her life too.

He turns ONE tomorrow!!
For more info on it:

Pretty cool stuff!! In honor of Jae, my class held an American/Korean b-day bash for him today! We sang Happy Birthday, and ate brownies. But, we also talked about the hanboks that Korean children wear at birthday celebrations, and some of the Korean food that is served. Um, my students decided cake was better than warm rice at their celebrations. haha.

Taking it all in,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


We have been keeping a secret.

For months now, Travis and I have been waiting, worrying, praying, losing sleep, biding time, crying, analyzing, dreaming about a boy. OUR BOY!

Introducing Baby Hubbard! Better known right now as "Jae-Min" (pronounced Jay Men), which is his given Korean birth name.

Jae-Min was born on Feb. 8 in South Korea. He is 11 months old! He has three teeth, a sweet, slobbery smile and eyes so beautiful, you get lost in a summer haze just starring at them.

Travis and I were introduced to Jae-Min in a "referral packet" given to us by our adoption agency on Oct. 20, 2011. It is hard to describe the range of emotions you go through when you are sitting in a classroom with 14 children, and your phone dings with an email alert that reads: "Child packet: Materials, pictures and more. It's a Boy!"

Immediately, my heart started beating so fast, and my legs and arms went numb! I clicked on the email, and waited as about 15 pages of info uploaded. Then, without expecting it, the first picture I ever saw of my boy popped up right in front of my eyes.

A tiny, little Korean bundle of joy squinting at the camera as his newborn photo was taken. Yellow from some jaundice and swollen from a long, difficult birth, but as wonderful as the day is long. Little crescent eyes and pouty lips adjusting to his new world.

I called Travis, and we talked so fast I don't even remember what we said! That last 4 hours at work moved as slow as molasses. Once home, Travis and I poured through all of his information. We learned about his young parents who gave him up for a better life. We learned about the area he was born in. We were given all of his known medical information to analyze. And, we were asked by the agency to have his information analyzed by an International Adoption Specialist and a pediatrician.

Jae-Min was carried by his birth mother to a full-term pregnancy. She was 17 when she gave birth to him. Her pregnancy was healthy from what we could tell, and she did seek medical attention. Jae-Min was nearly 8 pounds when he was born!

We have taken the last three+ months to study his file, learn about his personality and foster family. We have been lucky enough to receive a video of him!!! Can I tell you we have watched it AT LEAST 500 times!!!

We have waited to announce his entrance into our hearts because we wanted to have all of his information looked at and checked out by all appropriate parties as recommended by our adoption agency first.

And we are happy, so HAPPY, to report that he appears to be a very healthy, smart and PRECIOUS baby boy! He began walking at 10 months!! He has a great disposition...always laughing and making eye contact. He is a tiny guy...25% for height :) PERFECT!

This secret has been the hardest thing to keep!!! SO HARD! And, the last few months have been very trying emotionally for us as well. Our boy is halfway across the Earth. He is meeting so many "firsts" with another family. He is being put to sleep in someone else's arms. His favorite toy was given to him by someone we may never meet. The touch that is comforting him right now, isn't his parents'. At times, this adoption has made me feel like I am unraveling. In the beginning, my rope was tightly wound. It was strong and sturdy with the fierce drive to bring a baby into our lives.

We have been pushed to our patience limit and back. When we first entered with our agency, Holt, we were told once we got a referral, we'd only have to wait 4 months to bring them home. So, that would have put our baby at about 10 months old. But, over the last few months, the Korean government has made several unfair and frustrating changes in their adoption system. The current wait time to bring a child home from referral is 8 to 12 months. So, for us, that puts Jae at around 18 to 22 months old on homecoming. And, we will be required to finalize his adoption in Korea. We have had to pray for patience and strength daily. Can you imagine waiting nearly 2 years from start to finish for your sweet babe? What I know is that Travis and I share a love so strong for each other, that we will make it through this. And, in the end, we will be much more patient, kinder and better people for it. I can already see such an amazing change in myself. No one is entitled to anything. And, life will hand you lemons. :)

As we entered the adoption process, we realized how green and unaware we really were. Adoption IS NOT for the faint of heart. It IS NOT for those folks who can't stand change. It IS NOT for those who get stressed over the tiny upsets in their day.

So, as we continued on our process (which began in Sept. 2010), my rope felt a little loose in places. We waited 6 months just to be accepted into an agency that would allow diabetics to adopt. Then, it took another 8 months to get our referral of Jae. And, of course 3 months to accept it. And, now guess what?

We have about another 10-12 months before we can travel to Korea to bring OUR baby home. And, who knows, things can always change for the better or worse as far as wait times.

Tom Petty was dead on when he said, "the Waiting is the hardest part."

My rope is worn and tattered right now, but it is also as strong as ever. Infact, it just may be rebuilding itself. When I look in my baby's eyes, I feel a sense of wonder and joy of new possibilities. I feel the best parts of me light up and electrify. And, I sense the tiny fibers of a new love rope begin to develop and grow. And, as they grow, they get thicker and stronger. SO STRONG that these fibers can stretch miles upon miles ... oceans upon oceans ... mountains ... countries ... cities ... cultures ... families ... and most importantly, hearts. Baby Jae-Min has the other end of our rope. It keeps growing, as does he, each day.

Travis and I are so in love with this little guy. :) We look at him and giggle. We laugh at his balding baby hair. We run our fingers over the creases on his eyes and the curve of his lips as we touch his pictures. We sometimes even talk to him. Throw our words up into the heavens with the hope some angel watching over both us and Jae-Min will whisper that love into his ears.

This week we are sending him a care package for his 1st Birthday, which we sadly will miss, too. We have a photo album full of pictures of Travis and I. That's it! Just good old Mom and Dad. :)-

We also bought him a green elephant taggie animal. We are also sending some specials gifts from both sets of grandparents, Uncle Todd and Aunt Danielle and Uncle Adam and Aunt Lindsay.

Goodness, this child is already adored and loved more than he could ever imagine. But, one day he will FEEL it. He will be given the best life possible.

I worried at the very beginning of our journey one major thing: Would we be able to love a child that didn't come from our DNA the same way we would have loved one that we created?

The answer?

Well, yes. Absolutely, incredibly, with all of our hearts, YES.