2008 Trip to Korea

Thursday, March 27, 2008

We're in Seoul!

It's almost 6 AM here in Korea and, thanks to a 2 year old that doesn't understand time zones, we've been up for a few hours! We arrived at the hotel about 5 PM on Wednesday, 26 hours after leaving the house. Rowan did amazingly well on both the short flight to Atlanta and the 15 hr flight to Seoul. Our only glitch was a little run in with the TSA a the Gainesville airport. Nicole vs the TSA was quite the spectacle and ended in a draw--the supervisor compromised and let me take some of the juice and milk I'd packed for Rowan onboard. We rented a CARES restraint for Rowan's seat, which worked pretty well. We did take it off for a few hours so he could lay down and sleep. Two sheet of stickers, some crayons, three naps, and a jar of play-doh later, we landed in Incheon. As we flew over Seoul we could see the city is covered in a yellow cloud of dust. The social worker later told is it's called the "Yellow Mold" and it blows in every Spring from the desert in China. Thankfully, we remembered to pack Rowan's allergy medication! I'd like to take a moment and crown the new potty training world champion--26 hours in the same pullup and still dry!

Thursday morning we had breakfast at the Hotel (Fraser Place--which is great. We have a 2 bedroom apartment that is HUGE, an indoor pool, and a playroom) and took the metro to Holt Children's Services. We met briefly with our social worker and then a sleeping Maren Yeon-a, wearing one of the outfits we sent her, arrived with her Foster Mom. Foster Mom handed her to me and she was so calm and inquisitive. She was very interested in her brother, touching his face and trying to imitate him. She made great eye contact and allowed Andrew and I to hold her for about 30 minutes before starting to fuss. We spent about 45 minutes with them and were able to ask lots of questions about her likes and dislikes, which are a lot like her brother's--good eater, good sleeper, hates pacifiers, loves to empty out drawers. Included in the file we'll be getting for Maren are two gorgeous 8x10 portraits that her first foster family in her birth city had done for her 100th day birthday celebration and a polaroid taken a few minutes after birth! We're so excited she'll have these as she gets older. Also, foster mom presented us with an album of photos from both foster homes and a video. The agency wasn't able to reach Rowan's foster family to set up a meeting as they have retired from fostering. However, we were glad to learn that Holt has been forwarding our letters and photos to them.

After our meeting, we headed to the same barbecue restaurant we loved last time and had delicious Kalbi. The waitresses doted on Rowan, coming over to cut up his meat and wipe his hands. Despite sitting on the floor shoe-less and being inches from an open flame, Rowan did so well.

After lunch, we walked over to the Jeoldusan Martyr's Shrine and Museum. Andrew and I had tried to find it last time and got hopelessly lost. Now that we found it, it's hard to believe we missed it last time--it's on a giant rock. The grounds of the shrine are covered in beautiful gardens with a wide view of the Han River. The museum had some interesting artifacts from the Catholic Church's short history in Korea. There were several older women praying on the grounds, one of whom gave Rowan some chocolate and a beverage yet to be identified (I think it's orange soda, but until sure we opted not to let Rowan drink it which caused protest and outrage on his part!)

Here are some photos from the day


  • At March 27, 2008 8:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You made it! The pictures look great. Hope the rest of the trip is good. How long will you be there? And what is her DOB again?


  • At March 27, 2008 10:01 PM , Blogger Kristin said...

    Hey you guys!
    Maren is absoutely gorgeous and looks so glad to be with her family :)
    We can't wait to meet her,
    Travel safe and give that baby a sloppy kiss for us,
    Kristin, Matt and Maeve

  • At March 28, 2008 2:02 AM , Blogger Kathleen L said...

    You guys are amazing! I love the pictures and I loved reading the blog. I can't wait to see you all again!


  • At March 28, 2008 6:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Congrats - you have a beautiful family and should be very proud.
    Terry Mc

  • At March 28, 2008 7:02 AM , Blogger Mike & Ramona said...

    Thanks for sharing all this with us! Maren is just beautiful and how wonderful to have those photos from her foster family!

    Ramona (FCC)

  • At March 28, 2008 9:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wow! Great pictures! (I love the one with Rowan hugging his sister.) I feel the love. What a wonder family. Thank you for sharing this with us. I am so happy for you! Take Care!

    Ruth E.

  • At March 28, 2008 1:42 PM , Anonymous Aunt B said...

    Looks like you're having a good time! I can't wait to meet my new neice, she's so cute! Please tell me u will get rid of the hair piece lol!

  • At March 28, 2008 2:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Can't wait to see you all when you get back.

    Andy S

  • At March 28, 2008 3:02 PM , Blogger **************** said...

    Early pictures, that's so wonderful! Maren looks adorable. Hope Rowan is still doing well. Can't wait to read more.

    Melissa, Michael & Ainsley Sisk

  • At March 29, 2008 9:49 AM , Blogger Ven said...

    Hi Nicole, Andrew, Rowan and Maren:
    So happy to see you all together. What a wonderful adventure and joyful way to be receiving your new baby. Rowan looks so adorable with his new sister! Congratulations, looking forward to seeing you all very soon.
    Love Aunt Venice

  • At April 1, 2008 3:58 AM , Blogger Katie said...

    OMG, she is beautiful!!! Congrats, can't wait to see you when you come home.



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