Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rain, Rain...

Please, please stay...we are having fun today!

Here are my two babies enjoying the gentle rain outside. There's just nothing like being allowed to run and stomp in puddles, let the rain fall on your face, and not worry if your clothes get sopping wet. They had so much fun and it was hard to get them to come inside.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Welcome to the USA

One Year Ago Today...

We finally landed after a long and tiring flight. Even though the kids were fantastic, there's just something about crossing a bunch of time zones, sitting on an aircraft for hours, and walking up and down airports for a grand total of 21 hours that can tire one out. We were so excited to be home, so excited to show Ben his new home and room, and excited to get back to normalacy...whatever that was to be.

We had a layover at LAX which is where we first entered into the United States which means that is also where we went through customs. They were so nice, opened a line special just for us, and processed everything very quickly. We made it to our next gate with a 4 month old, a 22 month old, a stroller, a diaper bag...no, make that 2 diaper bags, a purse, a computer bag, a carry on, and our sanity.

Once we touched down in Minneapolis, we were so thrilled. It had actually happened...we had picked up our son and were now about to begin life with a new family dynamic. I remember having a rush of emotions...glad to be home, and sad to have left Korea...glad to be back where English is the primary language, and sad to not be hearing the beauty of the korean language spoken...glad to be able to introduce family and friends to our sweet boy, and sad that Ben had to leave the only family he had known. It was such a mixed bag; relieved to be back where everything was familiar and yet disappointed that our travels were coming to an end.

Nana was waiting at baggage claim when we arrived. She was so excited to see Ben as well as Ella. We picked up our oodles of bags and made our way to the parking lot. The van was such a sight to behold. There is sat with not one, but two little car seats beckoning us to come home. I had dreamt of this day...the day that I would be able to actually fill both those car seats with my own sweet dear children. How blessed I was!!

Once we arrived home, we were greeted by a quiet house that boasted lovely signs welcoming us back. It was dark outside, everyone was asleep...except us as we were still on Korea time and it was about time for lunch. It was a lovely first night home introducing Ben to his new life and new surroundings. We had so much to show him, so much love to start giving, and so many new things to experience with him. We were so excited to start our life with two of the most precious children. God blessed us when He gave us Ella and Ben.

One year ago today, Ben landed on US soil. It was a moment I will never forget.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

One Year Ago...

Another trip down memory lane...

One year ago we awoke early as we had a lot to do. Jason and I had to get two children (yes, two) ready for a very long flight to the other side of the globe. It was our last day in Korea, our last day at ESWS, our last day in our room we had come to love, and our last day with the view of Seoul right out our window. Today we would be taken to the airport to take our flight that would bring us back home. We were nervous, excited, anxious, and yet relaxed.

Nervous because we weren't sure how this long trip across the ocean was going to go. How do you take care of a 4 month old who may be screaming at the top of his lungs when you are trapped inside an aircraft many miles above water all while people are trying to sleep around you? What about that 22 month old? What if she decides that she has had enough of sharing mom and dad with this new baby and she doesn't want any more of it?

Excited because although we had arrived as a family of three...we were leaving as a family of four. Our son was coming home! We had waited for this day...and it was finally here.

Anxious because we weren't sure what to expect from Ben. He had had a good night, slept well, took his bottles well, but what would happen when he would realize that we weren't going away. That these white people who looked different, talked different, smelled different...well, they were always there. Life was about to change a lot for this sweet, little one...how would he react once he figured it all out?

And relaxed because God had brought us on this journey and He sure wasn't about to leave us now. He knew that this baby was meant for our family, meant to be my son, meant to be Ella's brother, meant to be Jason's little boy. God's plan was coming to fruition...and yet it was just the beginning. Relaxed because God had a plan, His Plan, and we were content in knowing that He was in control.

Many prayers were sent up that day and the days preceeding this flight home. Prayers were coming from all sides of the world...some from the US and some from Korea. God heard all those prayers and sent us yet another miracle. After saying our goodbyes to all the people we had come to love, admire, and respect and they said their goodbyes to Ben, we loaded up in the van that took us to the airport.

Our miracle was the flight itself. What an incredible flight. Two children under the age of two and God sent us peace and rest. As astonishing as this sounds, it is true...the total amount of time spent crying between these two little children was less than 2 minutes...on a 15 hour flight!!! If Ben was starting to get cranky, it was nothing a little walk up and down the aisle wouldn't fix or if Ben got hungry there were very kind airline attendants that would heat bottles up for us. They were so attentive to us. God answered prayers, many prayers, and watched over us as we flew home.

One year ago today, we left a country we love to come home to a county we love. To start life as a family of four.

Monday, September 3, 2007

One Year Ago Today....

Another trip down memory lane. Thinking back to being in Korea to pick up my son brings back so many emotions...what a blessing that God chose our family for this path...that God would entrust us with such an amazing gift...a precious little boy to call our own. Ben is such a miracle in so many ways and we are so thankful that his birthmother chose life for him. We wouldn't be the family we are today without Ben being a part of it.

One year ago...wow...what a day. It's hard to describe it...words just don't do it justice. This whole trip to Korea was filled with wonderful things; getting to meet our son, being allowed to experience and learn about his birth culture, meeting the wonderful Korean people, learning about this country's history, etc. But all of that pales in comparison to today. What a day it was!

One year ago we woke up early as we had so much to do. We knew that we were meeting with our social worker as well as Ben's fosterparents at 11am...because today...Ben would be placed into our family forever. No more little one hour meetings to get to know him better, no more heavy heart because I would once again have to say good-bye, no more walking around Korea feeling like someone was missing. No more.

We were rushing around our room trying to get as much packed as we could. We were still working on getting all the clothes washed and put away. We knew that once we got home the last thing on our minds would be laundry. We were busy planning...what does one need for a 15 hour flight to the other side of the world with a 4 month old and a 22 month old? What if the plane is hot, what if it's cold, how many diapers do we need for two little bottoms? Do we have enough toys, how about bottles, and what about wipes and a change of clothes? Jason and I were running around crazy trying to finish all of the last minute things so that we could just spend time with our new son once he was placed in our arms.

We witnessed so many miracles straight from the hands of God during this adoption. God was so gracious to us and He hand-delivered a miracle right to us on this very day. Normally the adoption agency in Korea doesn't allow you to have your baby until the very minute you are ready to leave for home. Literally. You get in the van to leave for the airport and that's when they put your baby on your lap. Well, as I said, God had another miracle all lined up for us. We were able to get Ben the day before we left! This allowed us some bonding time before ever having to get on a noisy aircraft. Jason and I were so thankful for this.

Well, 11am came very quickly and we were so excited. All three of us, Ella, Jason, and I walked down to the 2nd floor. We met Ben and his fosterparents for the last time. It was so bittersweet. Bitter...or sad because we would be taking Ben away from his foster parents who love him dearly, sad because we were going to be moving him to the other side of the world away from Korea and all it has to offer, sad because we were taking him from the only family he has ever known. Of course sweet because we were adding this wonderful boy to our family, sweet because God knew how much we needed Ben, and sweet because he was the perfect addition we had prayed for. What an emotional rollercoaster.
I will have to fast-forward here and leave out some details and conversations that took place. There is so much more to this story and as much as I wish I could share ever detail with some of you, it's just not my story to tell. I will save the rest, safe and secure...guarded in the deepest part of my heart to tell my amazing son when he is older.

What I can share is how grateful we were that day to have Ben with us. How much each precious minute held for us! Ella was so sweet and took to him right away. Once we got back to our room after our goodbyes, the only thing Ella wanted to do was hold her knew baby brother. She gently hugged and kissed him. What an amazing gift as a parent to watch...to see a brother/sister bond forming in it's earliest days.

That evening we went out for our last meal in Korea. We went with our dear friends that we met while staying at the agency...Scott and Karne. They were there to pick up their son...who ironically was born only a day before Ben. We are sure that these two little boys were in the nursery together and had met many months before. Another miracle...they live right here in the Twin Cities too! We are forever grateful for the friendship that started on the other side of the world with them. So...Jason, Danyelle, Ella, and Ben met up with friends for a traditional Korean meal of bulgogi. We sat at a traditional table on the floor while enjoying being a family of 4 all while having delightful conversation with our new friends. What an amazing end to an amazing day! I am so thankful to God for allowing me to be Ben's mom. He knew I had a whole in my heart that only little Ben could fill. Adoption is nothing short of a miracle. Ben is a miracle...my miracle!