There’s so much I want to write about the trip, and I will eventually.
But for now, I want to write about the most incredible part of the whole thing; meeting our son for the first time.
Josh and I arrived at our hotel in Seoul around 10:00pm Monday night. We quickly cleaned up and tried to fall asleep, but jetlag made it difficult. I think I slept a total of maybe 2 hours over the course of the entire night.
We officially got up for the day at 4:30am. We took our time getting dressed and enjoying the breakfast provided at the Courtyard Marriott Namdaemun.
Finally, we double checked that all of our gifts were in order and had the hotel call a taxi. We arrived at Eastern about 30 minutes before our meeting with Sam.
Eastern has this great little cafe on the first floor. It helps provide jobs for single moms who choose to parent their children, and revenues help support the many programs that Eastern orchestrates.
We stopped in for ginger tea (Josh) and peppermint tea (me) to calm our nerves. Perhaps oddly, we weren’t nervous about meeting Sam at all. We were far more concerned about the cultural differences or that we would accidentally offend our foster mom or social worker. We chatted with another adoptive family (HI BARBARA) before heading over to the family services lobby to wait for Sam and his foster mom to arrive.
Josh nodded his head toward the door when he saw Foster Mom walk in. I turned and saw her carrying Sam on her back. She walked through the doors and opened her arms for a hug. After a quick hug, I patted Sam’s back as he snuggled up to his foster mom in a back carrier. Josh made a face or something and before we even headed up to the room with all the toys, we heard Sam’s laugh for the first time. That laugh gave me such peace!
The hour went by far too quickly. At first, we sat on the floor with Sam and his foster mom. He loves cars, so he spun wheels for a bit. Then foster mom showed us how he has been walking while holding her hands. She’s hoping he takes his first independent steps before we take custody. Part of me desperately wants to witness his first steps since we have missed SO many other firsts, but another part of me knows she has worked so hard with him and wants her to get to see the fruits of her efforts. We are so grateful to her.
I pulled him into my lap pretty quickly, but facing away from me, still playing with toys. He’s very attached to Foster Mom, and I didn’t want to overwhelm him. But probably halfway through the visit, I just couldn’t go any longer without snuggling him. So I picked him up and held him close for a hug, and to my complete surprise, he hugged me back and smiled! What a gift!
Josh took over for a bit after that and played with Sam while Foster Mom opened her gift. We brought Sam a gift as well — a fleece jumper and a train. But we couldn’t compete with cars or toys that spin! He did use a walker and cruise around a bit, and at the end, we saw just how fast he can crawl! It’s been a while since we had a crawler around here, so I need to double check all of my baby proofing!
Sam’s so snuggly and happy. He laughs and smiles very easily. We saw firsthand that he likes peek-a-boo (Ca Coo! in Korea), clapping and high fives, being tickled, cars, balls, and has that general inquisitive nature that toddlers often do. He also likes music and finds any attempt at dancing to be hilarious. He knows what he wants to play with and will drop or shove away anything that doesn’t interest him. We didn’t see him cry at any point in either meeting, but Foster Mom did tell us she tickles his chin we he looks like he may start getting upset and that usually helps calm him down. We also find it really cute that when you try to hold him on your hip, he immediately starts trying to scoot to your back! He loves babywearing!
I can’t really put into words the thoughts and feelings that came with meeting him for the first time. It was somewhat surreal. We knew he existed, of course, and we’d seen him grow each month in the updates. But there he was: so real, there to hold and tickle and to tousle his hair as he squeezed our hand tight. And the joy of him letting us play with him and hold him? There’s just no words. We kept our expectations low because he’s at a prime age for separation anxiety and apprehensiveness of strangers. But God is so good and gave us the most priceless and precious memories for the first visit.
Writing all of this is making me miss him something fierce! He is absolutely precious, and I am honored to be his forever mother.