2008 Trip to Korea

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yes, we really did come home!

We headed for home on Tuesday April 1st. Fortunately, Delta was able to give us the middle bulkhead seat, which gave us several feet of leg room and a bassinet. Maren, however, wanted nothing to do with the bassinet. It did turn out to be a good place to stash our airline meal so we could take turns eating and holding Maren. Other than a freak lavatory accident which resulted in a scrape (and occasional laments of "my booty boo boo"), Rowan did incredibly well on the flight. Both kids slept quite a bit. Maren would only sleep laying on me.

After clearing customs and immigration with our new permanent resident (Maren won't become a citizen until the adoption is finalized here in the States, which will take at least 6 months), we made our connecting flight to Gainesville with about 20 minutes to spare. We'd hoped to meet our friends the Shorts in Atlanta, but I'm glad we decided not to try as we would not have made the flight. 23 hours after departing our hotel, we arrived home and attempted to get some sleep. The first few days, sleep was a big issue, but Rowan's jet lag and Maren's jet lag coupled with all of the change induced stress seem to be getting better every day. Last night they both slept through the night!! Maren is growing more comfortable with us and we are seeing some smiles now. She's had her first visit with the pediatrician--19.2 pounds and totally healthy! Here are a few pics from our first week home. Thanks to all of you for your well wishes! We've been hibernating a bit, but promise to be in touch soon!
First Bath at Home

First Afternoon in the Backyard

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Monday: Forever Family Day

Monday began with a missing bar of soap. After a brief interrogation, a one word confession: "potty." Plunger is not a word that easily translates into Korean, but eventually the hotel staff figured it out. We then took quick trip to Kyobo Bookstore (think Barnes and Noble times 20). We were able to pick up a children's book with both English and Korean Hangul script, a Korean cookbook, and a nice coffee table photo book of Korea. We headed back to Namdaemun market and found matching Hanboks for the kids when they are a little bit older. We've struck out at finding a white Hanbok for Maren's baptism. Though 25% of Korea is now Christian, traditionally in Korea white symbolizes death, so some shopkeepers were a little appalled at our desire for a white one.

We arrived at Holt at 3PM. Maren Yeon-A and her foster mom were already waiting for us. The social worker reviewed all the travel documents and instructions for her formula. Foster Mom gave us a beautiful Hanbok for Maren Yeon-A's first birthday and a little care package with snacks for all of us for the flight. She was sure to fill us in on what she'd eaten, her diapers that day, that she still needed her afternoon nap, and she'd already bathed her (which was good, since most of the attachment and adoption literature says to wait as long as you can to give a bath, so the baby still has familiar smells for comfort). Foster Mom helped me get Yeon-a into a my baby carrier and I could hear her sniffling and trying so hard not to cry. She is an amazing woman. We said our good-byes. As we walked out of the building, Rowan looked at us and said "I happy." Walking out as a family of four was this overwhelmingly amazing feeling. We have been blessed twice with miraculous children. Maren looked terrified and quickly fell asleep. She slept the entire walk to the subway and ride back to the hotel. When she woke, she was inconsolable. She is so attached to her foster mom, and she knew we weren't her! We did get some restless, intermittent sleep. Maren Yeon-A has slept the last 6 mos with her foster mother on the ondol (heated) floor, so, I woke up at one point with pain in my jaw to find she was sleeping on my head!

Here are a few photos of the big day. We've blocked out Foster Mom's face for her privacy and at the request of our agency.

The Big Brother and our social worker