We got to the agency an hour before we were scheduled to on our meeting day. We were both so nervous! We ducked into a coffee shop and ate a waffle (waffles are very popular in Seoul) and talked about our lives together thus far and how they were about to change.
Standing on the edge of parenthood is a strange feeling. Excitement and fear. Joy and anxiousness. A sense of completion for this part of the journey, and knowing that we have a whole world still ahead of us.
When we walked into the agency, our foster mother was standing there to greet us. Her eyes were red but she was smiling. And Little Man was happily playing with his foster father in the family room. He looked wonderful. He had a new haircut, and wore a button up collared shirt with little slacks. He even had a tie but he wasn't too keen on wearing it. As soon as he saw us, he flashed us a huge grin.
The next 20 minutes went so quickly. Our foster family presented us with a bunch of gifts. A hanbok for Little Man, which is as beautiful as any I've seen! They also had a bag of brand new clothes, spit rags, and bibs. And a really beautiful jewelry box for me. She also brought more photos which she snapped when we first met Little Man. Thank goodness for that because we didn't have any with both of us in them. I'll be adding those to the photo album she put together for him.
As they gave us the gifts, our foster mother left the room. Her husband chatted away with us and wiped a tear or two from his eyes as Little Man crawled into our laps. He took more photos, and when his wife came back, I could tell she had been crying. My heart broke for them because it's so obvious that they love him very much.
The Man shot some video and one thing we asked them to do was what their hopes were for Little Man. They asked that he grow up to be a kind person and do things for others. To be a good servant to the world and to be generous. Those are our wishes for him too. That made all of us start crying.
The social worker moved things along quickly at that point. It was clear that the emotions of the event were starting to really get to all of us. They gave us a few more bags filled with diapers, bottles, formula, a lovely Korean flag. The agency director came in to greet us, giving us a beautiful lacquered keepsake box. They gave us his US passport (which is really stinking cute) and and visa, and an envelope of legal documents. We read a single sheet of paper telling us his eating/sleeping schedule and habits. And signed a report from his last medical exam. At our home visit, we saw that our foster mother loved plants, so we gave them a plant. It felt like such a trivial gift at a time like this. Their gift to us was so much more precious. Nothing could ever match that.
And then, the social worker said it was time to go. It was too quick. I wanted to stay. I wanted to comfort the family. I wanted to learn so much more about Little Man's life before he joined our family. But all of that would have been hard and emotional. And there is time to learn more about one another down the road.
So, we gathered up Little Man, and took some last photos with his foster family. I held him in my arms, and The Man tried to carry all the bags. We all walked to the elevator and we hugged one last time. We walked into the elevator and faced one another with the door between us. The foster mother stood between her husband and the social worker, both with their arms around her. And I held Little Man as The Man had his arm around us. We were both sobbing as the doors closed between us and we waved Little Man's hands saying goodbye.
He never cried once. Thank goodness for that because I'm afraid I would have broken down like a blubbering idiot. He just looked around and took everything in. We hopped into a cab and went straight to our hotel room. All the while I expected him to cry or fret. But he was a very brave boy and never cried once.
Of course, The Man and I were a bit shell-shocked. What were we supposed to do now? Here he was, the real live baby we've been waiting for!
It was about Little Man's nap time and he was pretty stimulated with all the new stuff, so we played in our room for a while. The maid came in and changed the linens, which Little Man thought was pretty fun. He seemed to be getting tired so we made him a bottle. We weren't exactly sure how he went to sleep, but he showed us. And he went down for his nap right on time. We were so surprised that we actually got him to sleep!
Later that day we decided to venture out into the real world. We needed to get to know one another before we tackled the big travel day the next day. So we went to this giant underground mall called Coex, which was a subway stop from our hotel. First time in a subway together! We have a baby carrier and he does great in it. And after about an hour at the mall, he crashed out in his carrier.
I realized it then. Although it was Monday for us, it was Sunday in the states. Mother's Day. So here it was, my first Mother's Day as a mommy to a two-legged baby (as opposed to our usual 4-legged baby Mother's Days) and I was walking around with him on my chest! Such an awesome day! So we finished up our shopping, and then back to the hotel. More play time. Calls to family. Our first bath (he loves it!). And then bedtime, which all went off without a hitch.
This boy is so amazing. He's sweet and funny. And has a smile for everyone. And we get to spend our lives together. I still can't believe it.