Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Our Journey to Owen: Day 3 (Meeting Owen)

Our morning began bright and early around 4 AM. Thank you very much, Jet Lag. Of course, it didn't help that we were asleep by 7:30 last night. After some rest, we both felt so much better this morning. There's not much you can do here that early in the morning so we broke into some of the snacks we bought last night for breakfast and checked facebook.

 After a couple of hours, I felt really tired again so I crawled back in bed for a little nap. After that we got ready and headed over (in the rain) to the Gangnam Finance Center, which has 2 floors of restaurants and stores in the bottom. We found a Dunkin Donuts and had a second breakfast. That's what happens when you wake up at 4 am! :) We explored those 2 floors and then found a couch in the lobby to sit on and skype with Lukas. He is having a blast and I don't think is missing us one bit.

We decided to ride the subway after that and let me just say it was insanely crowded. These pictures do not do it justice. This was just pictures of people going up the stairs out of the subway. It was crazy.






We headed toward Kyobo Bookstore after the subway. It took us a little while to find it. The pouring rain did not help and we had to stop and ask for directions a couple of times but finally we found it!


We spent a long time wandering around looking at books and trying to decide what to get Lukas. It was fun to find familiar books written in Korean.


 It was a huge store and I could have spent hours in there. And I guess I kind of did. Because after I finally made up my mind we had to rush back to get ready to meet Owen. We stopped and tried a little street food for lunch. Once back at the guest house it was time to get ready for our big meeting! The butterflies started to settle in for me. I was so excited but nervous too. We walked over to SWS (in the rain) and headed upstairs. Its the first time we had stepped foot in there since walking out with Lukas. I didn't get any outside pictures today because of the rain. Once up on the 7th floor, we saw Lukas' social worker immediately and she told us that she was now Owen's social worker also because his had been transferred to the office at Amsa Rehabilitation Center. We were familiar with Mrs. Ko from last time so it was nice to be able to be with her again.

We were very surprised to meet the director from our US Agency, who is here on her bi-yearly visit to Korea. We had never met her in person but recognized her voice from the videos we had received in April of Owen. It was really neat to meet her since we've never met anyone from our agency in Michigan.

After that it was time to load up and go. It was about a 30 minute ride to the foster family's home. There was a little confusion once we arrived as to whether it was the right place or not but all of the sudden Mrs. Ko jumped out and told us we were there. In the confusion and the pouring rain I did not get a picture of the building, which I really hate. :(

I think we must have arrived around 1:45 PM. We headed up to the 4th floor and once up there he was waiting for us. He and his foster mother were standing outside of the door and he just started making these happy little sounds. We went in and sat down and he was a little unsure of us but it didn't take long for him to warm up, which his foster mother said was a little unusual because he is very shy around strangers. We had a stuffed teddy bear for him that I gave to him right away to try to get him to come a little closer to us. He LOVED the bear and just started squeezing it and laughing and smiling. We also had a recordable book that we had made for him and he loved looking at it. We're hoping that hearing our voices while we're gone will help when we come back for him.

He is a busy little guy who sleeps and eats very good. He is very stubborn and hot-tempered, his foster mother said. Hmmm, who else does that sound like?? He does not like to have things taken away from him and will throw himself down on the floor and scream, which we witnessed. (Maybe he and his big brother can have a contest?) He loves all kinds of fruit, has a green blanket that he is very attached to and has to have when he falls asleep. The foster mother rubs his back and lays beside him until he falls asleep. (I think I'm going to need to be cloned before we come back because his big brother would love for me to do that every night and sometimes that's still what it takes with him.) He takes 2 2hour naps a day and sleeps from 9-6 at night without waking.. He is still drinking a bottle several times a day and doesn't seem to be picky eater. He likes Pororo, which we found out for ourselves when I started playing an episode on my phone. He loves going outside and playing at the park. He loves to follow the foster father around the apartment and most of the time wants to go in the bathroom with him. He also looks around for him when he is not at home. His foster mother has taught him how to bow and when he did it for us it was the most adorable thing I've ever seen. He is very attached to his foster mother but did let us spend some time holding him. He loved the puffs we brought for him but ended up pouring out the whole bottle on the floor. You could tell he is into everything! He loves music and starts dancing when he hears it. He has 13 teeth, loves splashing during a bath, and loves to play with a cell phone. He kept putting mine up to his ear and saying "annyeong" which means hello in Korean. He has the softest, finest hair and his little toenails are just like Lukas'. There were so many similarities to Lukas that confirmed to us he is supposed to be our little boy. :) The foster mother told us several times that he is very smart. She said he walked at 11 months, which was a fun fact to know since we didn't know when exactly he started.

All too soon, Mrs. Ko announced it was time to go. She set up another time for us to see him on Thursday at the agency. He waved and waved as we said good-bye and it was so hard to leave. I cannot tell you how precious he is and how hard it is going to be to leave him. It is amazing to actually know some things about this precious boy that we had only seen in pictures. He is amazing and we already love him so much.

I'm sure I will think of more things we found out about him today but my brain is a little tired. I will add them as I think of them.

After arriving back at SWS, Mrs. Ko asked if we would like to see the baby reception home, which both boys lived in while they were in Seoul. Owen stayed there for 2 months last year. We said we absolutely wanted to see it again. Last time when we went to see the babies there, we knew without a doubt that we had to adopt again. I just cannot tell you what its like to see all of those babies laying in those bassinets with bottles propped up by towels in their mouths. You can tell the staff ladies and volunteers are taking care of them but they cannot give each one their undivided attention. I just wanted to rush in and love on each one, whispering to them how special they are. Its so heartbreaking to see them, knowing they need mommies and daddies. Some of them have been referred to families and are waiting for foster homes to go to until they are adopted. But still. Its so difficult not to just scoop them up and bring them with us.










Thanks for sticking around through this super long post. I wish I could fill it with pictures of Owen but you'll just have to take my word that he is super adorable! We cannot wait to see him again on Thursday!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Our Journey to Owen: Days 1-2 (I think!)

We made it to Seoul!!! Its very surreal to be back in this beautiful city that we love. The last time we left, more than 3 years ago, Lukas had just been placed in our arms. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago and in others it seems like just yesterday.

Even though at this point I can hardly keep my eyes open, I'm going to try to document as much as I can of the first days of our trip. I think I'm going on just a handful of hours of sleep in the last couple of days. Its hard to keep track of when we slept and what day it actually is.

We left our house Saturday afternoon and took Lukas to Gramma & Granddaddy's house. He was SO excited. He was just bouncing up & down & telling us to leave. It was so hard to leave him but knowing he was beyond excited made it a wee bit easier. This was our view as we drove away! We rolled down the window and he was yelling "I love you!" as loudly as he could!


We ran back home, threw our bags in the car, and left for the airport!



 Here was the official time:

We stopped and had an early supper and then went ahead to RDU. We had an easy time checking in and going through security. We were there in PLENTY of time and even had time to skype with Lukas while waiting. He wanted to know where Owen was while we were chatting. :) I know its so hard for him to understand how far away Korea is and how long it takes to get there!

The first flight left at 7:55 PM and was a breeze and had satellite tv for us to watch so that really made it seem like a short flight. Cool moment from that flight: realizing the skateboarder Tony Hawk was flying with us! We arrived in New York (JFK) at 9:30 PM and had a 3 hour layover. I'm so glad we had a little time because JFK is so big we had to ride a train to get to our terminal and then go back through security again, which took awhile. Finally, we saw the beautiful Korean air flight attendants come walking up and we knew it was almost time!



The flight was long. There is no other way to describe more than 14 hours on a plane than brutal. I really think it helped me that we were flying during the night. I didn't sleep a lot but I did sleep some, which was more than last time. Mitchell didn't get any sleep. I think knowing what to expect also helped. Around 3:10 AM, they served us supper:





That was definitely a first and of course seemed hilarious at the time because we were tired. I could feel myself starting to get a little giddy. Uh oh! :) After supper, I was able to doze some but it still amazes me how much they feed you on the Korean Air flights. They are constantly bringing around juice & water, snacks, or a meal. After dozing for a little while I decided to watch a couple of movies which really helped pass the time. Laughing through Mom's Night Out (again!) was fun. There was a little 4 year old Korean boy behind us who sounded so much like Lukas and so about halfway through the flight I got to missing my boy so badly and just wanted to sit there and cry. Part of that was from being tired too I think. I decided to watch Planes Fire & Rescue at that point to pass the time and help me not miss him quite as badly. 

The last part of the flight just dragged by so slowly but finally we arrived and the little boy behind us yelled "YAY!!!" We felt the same way. We went through Immigration, grabbed our luggage, and then had our money exchanged.





We then found the KAL bus we needed to ride that would drop us off near the SWS guest house. 


The obligatory "after the brutal flight" picture!


The bus left Incheon at 6:47 AM and we didn't make it to our stop until almost 9:30. It was a loooong trip due to rain and intense rush hour traffic. It was no doubt the worst part of the trip, just like last time.




We arrived at the guest house, found our room, and then skyped with our sweet boy. We were so glad to see him and I think he was glad to see us. He's having so much fun I'm not sure he want us to come back. 

After that we took showers and laid down for a nap. I could have slept so long but we were afraid to so after a couple of hours we got up and headed over to the subway. We purchased our T-money cards and rode to Coex Mall. Even though it was a yucky day, all of the fall colors look so pretty and so we stopped and took some pictures. Once at the mall, we were so hungry and immediately found a Korean restaurant that had an English menu (always a plus!).





We walked around the mall for a little bit afterwards and there were kids everywhere. They are all so adorable and so many of the little boys reminded us of Lukas. We couldn't help but talk about how different he would be and his life would be had he grown up in Korea. I get emotional every time I think about it. I'm so thankful that he is our son and is growing up in our home but I feel sad for him missing out on growing up in such a beautiful, amazing country like Korea. 

After the mall, we took a few more pictures, got back on the subway and went to find the E Mart, which is like a Walmart. It was fun walking around and looking at every thing and finding some fun things to take back to Lukas. He had requested some Pororo items so we picked up a few things and also found some Lightning McQueen socks, which we know he will LOVE!




An elementary school we walked by on the way to EMart.


I felt right at home. Their carts are just like Aldi's! You have to put in 100 won to "check out" a cart.  

Riding on the escalator with the cart! So cool!


Our Purchases

At this point we were feeling the jet lag, since it was the middle of the night at home. We somehow dragged ourselves back to the guest house and tried to stay awake. At this point it is 7:00 PM Monday night. Mitchell is currently snoring as I blog. I am headed that way as soon as I publish this post. We wanted to stay up longer so maybe we wouldn't wake up too early but our bodies have had enough and are telling us its time for some sleep. We'll probably be awake bright and early tomorrow morning for Owen Day! We meet him tomorrow afternoon around 2:00, which will be very early Tuesday morning at home. I cannot believe we finally get to see our precious little one tomorrow. I can't wait to get my hands on him and meet this little guy. I'm looking forward to seeing him in action and to see how much he's changed since the pictures we received from June. I will post about our meeting as soon as I can tomorrow!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Catching Up

There’s no way I can recap all that’s been going on in the last 7 months but I will try to cover the highlights.

The biggest highlight, without a doubt, happened on March 13. I was standing in Walgreens letting Lukas explore the toy aisle when my phone rang. It was Mitchell and he asked if I was sitting down. I really had no idea what he was going to tell me. He said that we had another referral! It really was a total shock. It was only a little while later that the precious little face of a whispy haired 9 month old baby boy showed up in my email. The last 5 months have been spent jumping through many hoops, trying to bring Owen Hyeonsu home. We still don’t know how much longer it will be but we are hopeful for sometime this fall. We have received several videos and pictures in the last few months and each time we have fallen in love a little more with our little peanut. Lukas is very excited about Owen and talks about him a lot but he has no idea how much little brother is going to rock his world. I guess neither do we! We are very ready to be a family of 4 and are doing everything we can to get ready for that day. Please help us pray that we will be given a court date soon!

A few more highlights…

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Easter Sunday

 

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Lukas’ First Trip to the NC Zoo in May

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Celebrating Owen’s 1st Birthday

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Celebrating Lukas’ 4th Birthday!

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What a little stinker!!

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First Dentist Appointment