Sunday, November 14, 2010

Home Sweet Home

So I know it has been forever since I posted. There is no reason except that I am buzy and blissfully happy!

So here is my version of the pick-up till homecoming. This will be a long post!

I couldn't sleep the night before we were given custody of Abeni. I was so nervous and excited and scared. I was also heartbroken for what our baby girl and her foster family were going to be experiencing. So finally at 6:15 I decided laying in bed was not helpful and convinced Michael to get up and "get ready." Only problem was I had insisted on getting everything ready the night before so we had 4 hours to just sit and wait. SOOOOO we checked our emial, twice. Then at 8 we decided to go upstairs and rock the babies in the nursery. That was both wondeful and hard. Holding the sweet baby girls and boys in my arms and comforting them was wonderful but it was hard to hear babies crying and know that we couldn't comfort them all. There were "over 80" babies in the nursery. They were between 0-3 months old. The babies we held and rocked were darling! I prayed and prayed that they would have a family soon. The ladies asked how long we could stay and we told them that we had to get our baby at 10 so they said "you can stay till 10?" Sure! So they kept bringing up babies to rock feed and love on. Finally with about 10 minutes to spare we handed the babies back over. They asked us the name of our baby and remembered her! They wished us luck and we headed upstairs to get our things. When we got downstairs we met Mrs. Shin she had the driver load our stuff into the van and then Abeni and her foster mother came in. Abeni looked adorable and smiled when she saw us. Things were happening so quickly! Then Dr. Kim came into the room and she prayed over Abeni. I ran back upstairs to get the letter and flowers we had prepared for the Foster Mother. While I was gone Michael spoke with the Foster Father on the phone. We told him that we are two families that are one because of one amazing little girl. Then all at once Mrs. Shin was walking us to the door. The van was waiting out front. Abeni's
Foster Mother, Michael and I all began to cry and then SooYeon's foster mother kissed her and held her one more time and then she placed her in my arms. We hugged and I was ushered into the van. Then we were gone. I couldn't even process what was happening. Abeni did very well with the hand off. She fussed a little about 5 minutes into the drive but I was able to comfort her. I held her in my arms and whispered over and over that I loved her. Soon we were at the Army Post and we went to go get on the van that would take us to the Air Force Base to catch a flight home. Abeni fell asleep on the bus ride to the Air Force Base. I was so happy to see our friend Amber when we arrived. She somehow fit all of our bags in the back of her car and we headed to her house. Abeni still did well. She only wanted me to hold her and wasn't eating well but she did share a few sweet smiles and even a giggle. We went to the Air Force Base the next morning at 5 am to try to get on a flight to Seattle. Because it is standby we didn't make it that first flight so we spent two more days in Korea just loving on our girl and learning all the cute little things she does. We made it on the Thursday flight. We arrived home on Tursday evening Utah time it was so good to see our boys. There was a quick hello at the airport and then we were headed home. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to hold my three kids, kiss my three kids, and have all of them asleep in our home. Ok this post is long enough I will attach a picture because that is what you are all here for :) and say good night. I'll add more pics and details later.

Abeni at the US Military AirPort

Sweet girl after her bath

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trying Again Tomorrow

So we were unable to get on the Air Force flight yesterday, so we have been camped out at our friend's house right outside the Air Force base. Abeni has really taken to Ari, but she has let me feed her and play a little with her. She has some of the cutest faces and sounds. She is very vocal about what she wants. Her Korean words for Mom, Dad, and big brother are very clear. She has learned Momma but I don't think she associates it with Ari just yet. However, I have found a way for her and I to bond. When Ari needs a little break like the restroom, or the extra couple hours of sleep because she was wrestling a greiving baby, I put Abeni in the baby carrier and ride the elevator to the 18th floor. Once on the 18th floor, we starting going down the stairs to the 5th floor, and do it over again. Today was a little different, I felt that she was getting a little tired, so I stopped on the stairs and rocked her in the stairwell in the dark. The lights are motion sensored, as soon as I was in range of the sensor they came back on. While in the stairwell and in the dark, I sang soft children songs to her and she would reach up and feel my face. We were in the stairwell for about 2 hours, she slept maybe 1 hour of it. She would still much rather be with Ari, which is understandable. For the first two months of her life she was back and forth from the hospital to children's home. Then from the end of the 2nd month of her life, she was very well taken care of by one of the best mothers in Korea. She also had a hard time falling in love with her foster father(learned from one of the videos we were sent from our agency). Well hopefully our next post will either be from Seattle after we have made tomorrow's flight. If not we will be running to Inchon and will be spending mega bucks on some flights to get us at least to the states. Oh also, I have been blessed with the unique opportunity to be able to give MY DAUGHTER a father's blessing. That was a blessing for her and for me. Keep us in your prayers and fingers crossed for tomorrow's flight.

Monday, November 8, 2010

We've got our girl.

Today has been one emotional amuzement park ride. Ari and I were up numerous times unable to contain our excitement. Ari finally urged me to wake up at 6:15am so we could ensure we were ready, even though we packed everything the night before. So we passed the time checking our email over and over again. Also to note that Ari and I handle our stress so differently. I like to eat while Ari paces the walkway. At about 9:40am after doing all we could to pass the time, I had Ari go into one of the kitchens at Eastern and watch me eat my stress away. I felt like it was fair since I passed the time earlier checking and double checking to make sure everything was packed and nothing was missing.
Well at about 9:50 we took all the bags we brought and aquired down to the lobby. We hadn't been given any instructions other than meet at 10am. We got down there and Mrs. Shin (our Abeni's Social worker) was just walking to the elevator. We met outside and I had a decent conversation pertaining to the conflict the US Embassy started when they realized they had not followed through with the paper work. Afterwords I went out side with the driver to take the luggage to the van our US adoption agency purchased.
When I returned Abeni and her foster mother had already arrived and were talking to Ari. Dr. Kim came in to say a prayer that is prayed when a child is taken from Eastern. It was a very sweet prayer requesting that God watch over this sweet child and protect her. She also prayed that one day she can return to Korea to learn about who she is and where she came from. Sadly for Ari, I understood it, but on the brighter side you could still feel a great spirit of strength and love that Eastern has placed in these children. I gave Dr. Kim a donation and while they were wrting a receipt, Abeni's foster mother called her husband so he could say good bye to us. In that conversation I could hear how choked up he was becoming about saying goodbye. I expressed to him that we were two families that had now become one through Abeni. He also let me know he would like to remain in contact and that he had written me a two page letter expressing his desire that I again teach Abeni about her culture and language. After our conversation, we moved to the front of Eastern where the van was waiting. Ari gave the foster mother a hug while she was handed Abeni. We jumped in the van and took off towards YongSan Army base to get on a bus to take us to Osan Air Force Base. Abeni actually didn't cry until about 2 minutes into the drive. It was extrememly painful to witness the love that Abeni's foster mother had for her as she willfully handed her to Ari. Abeni had remained quite calm on the way to Yongsan. She had a few moments where she screamed and called for her Oma.. We made it onto YongSan and onto the bus. Abeni only screamed when I looked at her or touched her. She went to sleep and I finally was able to get my chance to hold her. And the moment she focused on my face when she woke, she immediately screamed until Ari took her back. When we got to Osan, my friend Amber was there waiting for us to take us back to her apartment where we will squat until it is time to head to the plane. Since waiting, I have finally been able to hold Abeni a bit more, and she takes turns screaming and burying her head into my chest. But Ari is getting amazing hold time. She is such a sweet baby, she had such a good time bathing in the sink. She is finally asleep on a bed, and she is such a little angel.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NICU party (Ari's version)

I held my baby! Her Foster Mother just put her right in my lap. TWICE! I played with her and made her giggle. She sat on my lap for five minutes and didn't even fuss. It was the most wonderful feeling. I felt the way I feel when I hold my boys; that intense, strong, unexplainable mother love. Oh I can't wait to hold her again. Monday can't come soon enough and at the same time the hours are speeding by. I honestly feel so much love for Abeni's foster family and I am so sad that they are and will be hurting for the next little while. Her Foster Father is a gentle and responsive man who seemed to see the needs of his wife and children and meet them quickly. Her brother is funny. :) I will never forget the care and love they have provided to our daughter. We are one family in two countries.

Hospital Party

First off we are sorry that we were unable to blog after the party due to the lack of internet and the great time we spent with my (Michael) family in Chungju.
So this was my post that I typed while on the bus. Well what a wonderful day to be in Seoul South Korea. Got up early to try to skype with the boys only to find that Eastern's wifi was on the fritz. Once we finally gave up on the internet we cooked some breakfast. Also during breakfast I was taking all the photos off the SD card from the digital camera we sent the foster family. While transfering the photos, there was an error and it said that the file name of a folder was too long to move over. When I started researching the problem, I found that the file name was actually a secret message to me from the foster dad asking that we always teach Abeni about them and to never let her forget that they were a part of her life. Wow, speaking Korean has its priviliages, except it was too early in the morning for tears.
Well at 10 am it was time to head down to the first floor of Eastern to meet a social worker and driver who took us to the Hospital Party. We drove, what seemed the long way around Seoul, to the Hospital. On the way to the hospital we talked with the social worker and the driver and really got to talk freely about random things. We didn't want to get to deep into conversations with them just becuase we hadn't figured out their motives in their questions.
We got there about 15 minutes earlier than Abeni's foster family. Once we got to the floor that the party was being held, we were greeted by a life size Winnie the Pooh, Garfield and a Korean Frog/Soldier character. Then we went to sign in to the party. And together the social worker and I explained our story to them and how were invited to the party. Once we were signed in, Ari and I were ambushed by the Hospital director and the head nurse of the pediatrics. Also, many of the other staff were taking pictures as if they were paparazzi.
Finally Abeni and her foster family arrived. We were so excited to see them (when I say "we" I am talking about every hospital worker that learned of the story in the 15 minutes we were there before Abeni"). Abeni got a huge smile on her face when she saw Ari. Well we and Abeni's foster family were then funneled through a walk way to pick up some of the snacks that were for the premies and their families. There was some milk, fruit and some juice boxes for the siblings. And there was a large case of tetra pak baby soy milk. Yum, my favorite, but not sure on how to get it home. We made it into the audatorium and were sat down. Between Abeni's foster father and I, I think we took about 400 pictures (but I will only post a few here). There was a little presentation at the beginning of the party where the Hospital Director and the head Pediatric Nurse each got up to give words. During the Hospital Director's speech he decided to include the special Americans who came to partake in the festivities with our Adopted Child and the Foster Family. He had Ari and I stand up and had everyone else clap for us. After his and the Nurse's speeches that gave out some "Good Wishes" sheet that has a prayer like saying on it and another bag of goodies. In the bag, was a book that has parents' stories about their babies' premature stories in it. It also had a really cute Bear hooded towel with the hospital's name embroided on it, and johnson baby lotions and soap. It was such a great experience. I have to also mention that Abeni's foster brother was so excited to meet the life size cartoon characters. Well during more of the party Ari was able to hold Abeni for a few minutes with out tears and was able to even get some more smiles and giggles from her. I on the other hand, as soon as I touch her she screams out in terror. Which is weird for me. Even as a missionary here, I never had a child cry or try to get out of my arms. I must have become hard and scary in my old age.
On our way back to Eastern, we decided that it was time to ask hard questions about Eastern, the current bog of the Adoption process and why the insistance of closing the international adoption program. We also got into our situation with the Embassy and them calling Eastern on why Abeni's paper work was taking so long, even though it was the Embassy's mishap.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Second Meeting

The second meeting was so much better then the first! We got some smiles and even heard a little bit of a giggle. I was able to play with Abeni a bit without tears. Her foster mother also brought gifts to the meeting. She gave us a whole wardrobe for SooYeon as well as a gorgeous blanket that she crosstiched. She also gave us a Hanbok for SooYeon. She had fixed it so it would fit her now and in the future.

Abeni came to the meeting dressed in the most adorable poncho type coat it was white with black spots. She had just woken up so it took a few minutes for her to decide to smile and say hello. This time we came armed with snacks and found some noisy toys in the toy box. At first we just got a few timid smiles but after she had her bottle and a few "puffs" we got some giggles.

She was so funny about the puffs she was grabbing the whole container and trying to get them into her mouth. Her foster mom kept reminding her that she only needs to reach in and get one at a time. Too Cute! We also saw her holding her own bottle and spinning her little self all around on her tummy to get to toys, I got really brave and decided to try to hold her not on my lap but to sit close to her and touch her while she played with a drum. It was so wonderful to be able to touch her. She played happily like that for about five minutes. Small victory! She also thinks Michael is funny as long as he keeps his distance. :)

The best part of the meeting was hearing that tomorrow we get to go with her whole family to the "NICU reunion" at the hospital where she was born! We get to see her again! We get to meet her foster father and her foster brother. Also in our paperwork it says that SooYeon is very important to her foster mother since she is her first foster baby. It asks for lots of pictures as she grows up. We can do that for sure. We gave her our email when Mrs. Shin left the room to make copies of her footprints for the foster mother.

Dinner with MiRa and "Toby"

Yesterday we shopped, shopped and shopped. Then we went out to dinner with MiRa and her English Student "Toby." We gave him his English name. He was a very nice kid. We had fun and found an AMAZING Korean barbeque. I loved it and Micahel was the star at the resturant. :) They loved having the Korean speaking American at their resturant. Then we went out to eat at a dessert resturant. The Korean's are into the word story right now so everywhere you look their advertisments say story. The advertisement for the dessert place was "a fresh fruit story." The advertisment for the eyeglass store was "with lens story." And so many other stories.... Too funny.