Thursday, May 31, 2012


Will do an update about some pics while you wait?

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Friday, May 25, 2012


Thanks to everyone for their comments or thoughts they've sent my way. I am definitely out of my comfort zone, so your encouraging comments have really helped me keep going!

...and please remember how unique everyone's adoption story is.  How my journey played out was right for me at the right time. Many times I wonder how Gavin and my nephew will feel or care about their own adoption journey.I realize that Gavin may not care at all about his adoption story or he may have questions at a very young age. So, it will be important to respect his perspective and to not impose our own thoughts upon him.

I know that at this point I haven't  processed everything, but I'll share with you what I feel right now...

Acceptance was important on both sides of the table.
While we were waiting to travel, one fear I had in my head was what if they don't like me? What if they look at me and they say no she is not ours? What if I was a disappointment? My wonderful social worker and Kelly Fern kept reminding me, look at your letters from your birth father, of course they want to meet you. They also reminded me that they are feeling the exact same way you are right of the questions that my eomeoni asked me was if she died would I return for her funeral, my answer was yes...this brought tears to her eyes...I think my answer showed her that even though I had been relinquished I still loved and cared for her.

I know that I am more complete.
When we first started the process I remember a post from an adoption forum. It was about not romanticizing your birth mother's love for your child. The comment really took me aback. I thought well of course my birth mother loved me. If she didn't she wouldn't have done the necessary steps to make sure that I was adopted.  There were so many other choices she could have made. However, I understand that this is not always the case. Learning that my abeoji named me in hopes that someday I would return...Hearing that my eomeoni wanted me back, but it was too late and that she was praying for me every day for the past 35 years...Seeing their sadness and tears, as well as hearing other regrets is enough for me to know how hard a decision this was for them to make......and to me, it confirms that I was LOVED, and it made me feel whole. Even though I didn't search actively, or had questions that I needed to be answered while I was growing up, having the information I do now has "made my bucket overflow."

The biggest challenge is the language barrier.
I suppose what makes me the saddest is the language barrier. From talking to student's parents where their child is bilingual or friends who are making sure their children know more than one language, I know that you have to be able to converse non-stop at home in the "other" language for it to stick...and I know my parents would have sent me to classes if I had wanted to learn, but there would have been no one else for me to converse with. Matt is trying to find a church that might offer classes, so we can start conversing/learning and Gavin could retain a little bit of what he already knows.  ..and yes it makes my heart hurt for Gavin that he will be losing what Korean he already knows, which is probably why I can't stop calling him by his Korean name.

Without support this would have never happened.
One of the best aspects of the process has been the support from Matt, my family and the handful of people I shared this info with. Knowing that Matt would back me in any decision I had during the process was key. Matt would LISTEN instead of trying to empathize...and he was great about only giving advice if asked. My family and friends were respectful of my requests for privacy...and understanding that I would share when I could. In addition, my parents and siblings were very supportive and excited that I was going to meet my Korean family.

-One day my mom mentioned how nice it was that now I have two families. That's the best thing she could have ever said. 

Of course, I've wondered what it would have been like if I had grown up in Korea and not been relinquished...however, like some other adoptees have said, they would not trade what they have now to go back in the past...and lucky for me I get to have both.

What's next?
I hope that we will build whatever relationship we can even though there is a language barrier and the thousands of miles that separate us. As of now, thanks to "modern technology ;-)" we exchange pictures, video clips or attempt to write each other on a daily basis. My 1st sister has already sent us a box which included books to learn Hangul/Korean, some really tasty food that she made, and chopsticks for Gavin. I know that it may slow down, but I'm really loving it right now. When I thanked her she said that's okay that's what the oldest sister made me smile, since in my Korean family I'm the baby and in the US I'm the oldie sister.

Thanks for following me on my journey...the posts will go back to looking at pictures and videos of our sweet boy.

...but  just in case you need one last look. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

One Last Goodbye

On Thursday the 26th it was finally time to head home. We woke up early to get ready and waited for our ride for the airport. While waiting in the lobby of our hotel, I was checking my texts and noticed I had a few from my sisters. Specifically asking what airport and gate. I responded and while we were waiting in line to check in, there they were. 

Due to the language barrier, we had to be satisfied with each other's company, although they were able to converse with Gavin. :-) After checking in, we headed over to security where we said our final goodbye, I hugged them and quickly walked through the security line because that's when I started crying.again...but not for long...mommy instincts took over in preparation for our 13 hour  flight home. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

April 25, 2012- 2nd Visit

It was decided at our previous meeting that if Gavin's transition was going well, we would meet one more time. Although he was grieving at night, during the day he enjoyed being out and about in Seoul, and was quite social so we decided to go ahead and meet at Eastern one more time.

 We were all very happy to see each other again. They were very kind and generous. They came laden with gifts for not only us, but everyone in my family. 

My 1st sister is a cook and she made quite a few goodies for us to take with us. Yummy!!!

After the presentation of gifts, my abeoji took his leave. It was time for all of us ladies to chat and Matt, too!

One thing I should mention is they kept saying how much I look like my 2nd sister. Unfortunately, she couldn't come to the meetings since she had been in a car accident and lived 2 hours away from Seoul. I hope that next time we travel to Korea we will get to meet.

During this conversation we began to learn more things about all of us, some tidbits are:
-all of the girls in our family were born in November
-we all love to sing and read
-we would rather stay home than go out
-my eomeoni said all of the women are strong, because we need to be
and etc...and I loved this! I felt extremely connected to my sisters and eomeoni even only knowing them for a short amount of time.

In certain situations, I really hate goodbyes. I don't know if this is an "adoptee issue" but I've really recognized this in myself as I've grown older. And, I knew that this was going to be extremely tough...When we said that we should head back to the hotel, everyone got up very matter of fact collected and packed everything and then headed for the door. And, at the doorway I asked Mrs. K to let them know that I loved them and I considered them my family, too...and Mrs. K got a look of panic in her eyes because this is the first time during the whole process that I looked like I was going to start bawling and I almost did because I felt the panic start building which usually happens...and I think the only reason I didn't was because no one else did. Remember,  we are strong women! However, when we got in the cab I could not stop crying. I don't even really remember the trip back to the hotel. 

That evening when Gavin was sleeping on my back, as I walked around the hotel , I couldn't help but cry then, too. I  distinctly remember thinking that Gavin and I were going through the grief process together right now...and tears were shed for him as well. I believe that the gains outweigh the losses in adoption, but that night I also wept for his losses, too....

Monday, May 21, 2012

April 20, 2012

 April 20, 2012 @ 3:30 p.m.
 This is the day that we met my birth family. It was the day after we landed in Seoul.
 That morning I thought it would be good to do something we decided to go to Seoul Tower. As mentioned in a previous post, physically it was exhausting. But, I think it was the perfect thing to help with nerves. After surviving our strenuous climb and an amazing lunch, we headed back to the hotel to start prepping for the meeting. 

We left the hotel, and I attempted to talk and video tape the drive to ESWS, but I simply couldn't. So we drove to Eastern in silence. I hadn't had a huge cry since April 15, even with all of the ups and downs of the adoption roller coaster for Gavin, so I really wasn't sure what to expect of myself. When we were in the states, when I would think about the meeting or meeting my nephew's foster family I would automatically tear up, so I was prepping for uncontrollable tears....but what I found when we reached ESWS was a sense of calm, peace, and joy. 

Our first meeting was with our nephew's foster mother. She was a joy to meet and I hope that we will be able to see her whenever we travel to Korea.

After that meeting, our translator mentioned that she needed to talk privately ...
The main point was, my birth family wanted us to have supper with them at their house!!! I said as long as the meeting went well, we would be more than happy to go to their house for supper. Thankfully Ms. K- the amazing lady in post adopt was gracious enough to not only be our translator at our ESWS, but at the dinner, too!

Ms. K left the room to go get them, and we waited...and looking at the video I can tell I was nervous but, I definitely had a smile on my face. Then she entered with my birth parents. I gave my birth father-abeoji a hug and then I gave my birth mother-eomeoni a hug. The hug lasted a few minutes longer and there were a few pokes and pats on the back...maybe she was making sure that I was real. 

The one expression that they kept repeating was how sorry they were for relinquishing me...and tears were shed.  My eomeoni said that she had prayed to Buddha every day for my well being, and that in her heart she knew that one day I would return. She also said that she had wanted me back, but when they contacted the agency they were told I was already gone. She did not look at me when I was born, but my abeoji said he did. He also said I cried very loudly.

After a few minutes, my abeoji stood up and took out a jewelry box. He took out two gold rings and placed one on my ring finger and the other on Matt's ring finger. I was so touched by this beautiful gift that was so unexpected but greatly appreciated. We really didn't understand the significance what the rings meant, but we found out afterwards that many times the parents will buy the wedding rings for their children.

After more conversation it was time to go to their house for supper. We drove for quite awhile, and then we stopped outside a building. It happened to be my 3rd sister's hair salon. We sat for a few minutes while she finished cutting someone's hair and then we walked to my abeoji's real estate office. We sat for a few minutes and he showed us where we were in Seoul, and then my brother and my 1st sister came in. More greetings were shared, and we walked to my parent's apartment from there. My brother took my hand and my sister took Matt's hand and they led us "home". 

When we arrived, I asked my eomeoni if I could help, but she shooed me into the room where we were eating and told me to relax.  :-) My eomeoni had prepared a traditional Korean meal for us in our honor. It was delicious!!! We were/are so appreciative of all of the work that goes into the many dishes...  
During the meal, my abeoji and eomeoni literally fed us...rice wrapped in seaweed with fish, as well as different fruits. It is a term of endearment and comments were made that my abeoji typically does not do that. I love the two pictures of my eomeoni feeding us. I feel like she is beaming with joy.
We sat around the table and talked as long as time allowed and then it was time to go. This time 3rd sister took my hand and my brother put his arm around Matt and we were led back to the car, since
my abeoji wanted to drop us off back at the hotel.

 As I begin to allow myself to start thinking about that special day, what I remember most is the LOVE that was showered down upon us...and all of my fears were washed away.

Thankfully, we had one more meeting scheduled before we left...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Piece by Piece

In the spring of 2010, I finally filled out the paperwork to start searching. I even had it notarized. Again, I didn't turn it in. One thing that Matt would ask me every time I would mention it was, are you sure? And, I suppose I really wasn't the paperwork sat in a bag. 

In January of 2011 we started the process to adopt Gavin...and that's when I started to really think about how adoption had affected my life, or if it had. As you may have guessed, this is when the thought of sending the paperwork to start searching really started calling to me. I think my logic was, well it's the perfect time to submit it since we'll be in Korea picking up our son. I specifically wrote that I am extremely interested in meeting my foster mother and really don't think there is any information about my birth mother to be found. I submitted the paperwork in February...and like all things with the adoption process- waited.   

April 15, 2011
This is a day that I will always remember. 
I was driving to pick up Matt from work and from there we were picking up friends to travel to my parents house. While in the parking garage I noticed I had an email from my social worker. It asked do you have time to talk? I immediately thought, okay I suppose that they are just calling to tell me that they couldn't find any information. So, while waiting for Matt I returned her call. To my complete shock it was the exact opposite. ESWS said that they knew my birth parents were married, they knew their names and ages, and they didn't think they could find them since they didn't have their id numbers, and I was relinquished due to extreme poverty...and I was completely numb. She encouraged me to think of any other questions I might have and to feel free to email them to her. I barely held it together through the whole conversation, and when I hung up,  I lost it. I really hate to cry and usually try not to, but there was no holding back. 

*when I read through this email the other day, it brought tears to my eyes. I had forgotten that they had said they couldn't find them.

*before I found out all of the info, I used to tell people all of the time that I was born to a single mother, and it was no big deal. When I started looking at some of the adoption forums, people would write about how they are not sharing their child's story it's up to them, and to be perfectly honest my thoughts were rather flippant...what's the big deal. But, when I started learning all of this information My lips were completely sealed. It wasn't that it was embarrassing it was just that it was so intensely personal I couldn't really talk about it to anyone except for Matt. 

April 24, 2011
On April 24, I sent the following questions:
1. Was Eastern able to find information about my foster mother? That really was my main goal in the first see if I could find and meet her when we  travel to Korea.
 2. ...............................................................................................................................................
 3. Since Eastern believes that it would be hard to find my bio fam. due to not having their ID #s, would they be willing to share their names with me?
 4. Do you think my name in Korea was from my bio fam or did the agency give me the name: Nam, Hyun Rae?
 5. If I visit Eastern when I go to Korea, do you think they have even more info. or do you think this is it?

                                                                       May 13, 2011
My questions were more than answered.

1. They knew my foster mother's name. However, she was only a foster mother during the time I was with her and then she stopped. They were unable to locate her.
3.   Since the birth father’s name is not common as a man’s name, I did further search on him for in case.  So I obtained the address of the couple who are assumed to be the birth parents. xxxx  Please let me know if the adoptee wants further search of the birth parents.  According to the letter dated Feb. 16, 2011, it seems the adoptee is interested in locating the foster mother...
4. There is no report on who named the adoptee.
5. I think we provided all we have in the file to you.  I realized that there is no birth time of the adoptee on Initial Social History report.  The adoptee was born at 11:40 am on Nov. 2, 1976 and the birth place is Lee, JungJa Maternity home in BongCheon-dong, KwanAk-Gu, Seoul.

*I am forever grateful to the person in post-adopt at Eastern who took the time to do further research. 

-and as we know, I kept going...

June 16, 2011
Search forms are sent to ESWS.

June 29, 2011
They have located my birth parents. This is when I found out that my birth father had named me. One more piece- they said that my siblings were unaware of me. 

Looking back at emails sent from my social worker, I realize I should have been writing down my thoughts and feelings about what was happening. But, I think it was all surreal to me, and I really didn't even know what to think...I see in the email from June 29, that rep. from ESWS was going to give my birth parents a brief bio and picture that I had composed, which I had forgotten I had done. After finding out that they had located my birth parents, I put together a small photo album and a letter to send to them.

From June until April we wrote letters back and forth. The exchange was between me and my birth father. All of the letters were signed by him and when I asked my social worker about that, she said typically that is what happened. However, when you meet in Korea a lot of times the birth mother takes over. 

Sentiments that were exchanged included: 
How sorry my birth parents were for relinquishing me.
How thankful they were that I had such a good family. 
Information about family

When I first saw the pictures that were sent from my birth family to me...I did not think I looked like them at all, which was really disappointing. I imagined we would look like cookie cutter spitting images of each other...and I did wonder if they really thought I was their daughter. Taking a step back, I know that most families resemble each other, but they are not necessarily spitting images of each other. However, meeting them in person and seeing pics of myself with them have erased any doubts at all. 

During this time there was a lot to think about. I can't even articulate all of the different emotions I was going through. Matt's main concern was for my well being. He kept telling me to think about the worst thing that could possibly happen at the meeting...which was really abstract, since I couldn't imagine what that would be. Thankfully I was able to email back and forth with some adoptees who had gone through the reunion process. In addition I was able to join an online group of adoptees who had been reunited with their birth families. That was the best way to learn different reunion scenarios. It was also another learning experience to find out how other Korean adoptees felt about being adopted and adoption in general. 

Something that was continuously on my mind was will my birth father and birth mother tell my siblings about me? Will I get to meet them? I kind of obsessed over that. Matt finally said you're assuming that your family in Korea has the same type of relationship that you have with your family over here...It may be the exact opposite. I really needed to hear him say that. He was 100% right in his thinking, and it made me calm down about the whole topic.  

We considered the possibility of  traveling before we picked up Gavin to meet them. However, financially it was not feasible and I definitely needed Matt there for the support. Or, me traveling after we had returned after picking up Gavin. However, if something happened to someone and then I had missed the chance to meet them, I knew I would have regretted that decision for the rest of my life...and honestly that is  what drove me to make the decisions that I made through my journey to my birth family...would I regret later on in life if I hadn't made the next step? 

The answer was always yes.

By the time April of 2012 rolled around I felt that I was ready. At first ESWS couldn't get a hold of my birth parents...which made me nervous. Eventually they got a hold of them and my birth father said that I would be meeting all of my siblings! ...and then ESWS wrote again saying that my birth father mentioned they wouldn't be able to come to the meeting, which was really disappointing. But, my social worker said you never know what could happen...

...and her words definitely came true!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Wheels Start to Turn

In my heart I always wanted to adopt from Korea and when we got married Matt and I talked about adoption, too. We just weren't ready to start a family...

In 2008 my sister and brother in law began the process to adopt a son from Korea. Our family was excited and very happy for them. From referral to travel they waited for 3 1/2 months. They also adopted through ESWS, which was the same partner agency that I was adopted through. :)

One of my favorite pics ever!


...and after observing the process and thinking about my own adoption, we knew for certain that we would adopt. At this time, I really started thinking about my foster mother. When my brother in law came home, my nephew's foster family had given him two photo albums of pictures from his time with them. 

You could tell how much love his foster family had for him and how much they cared for our nephew. I really loved the relationship that my sister and brother in law built. 

*On our trip, we had the privilege to meet our nephew's foster mother. She is a lovely lady. She is just how I imagined her to be. I can't wait until my nephew gets to see her again!

In the back of my head I thought it would be nice to meet my foster mother to let her know that I had a very good life. After seeing how much love my nephew's foster family had for him, I imagined that the foster families would still wonder about the babies, even if it was from eons ago. 

I still did not think about searching for my birth mother...I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to find her. Even thinking about searching for my foster mother, I still did not start searching.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Look Back

Lunch at Namsan Tower

In the summer of 1994, as a graduation gift from high school, I had the opportunity to travel back to Korea with a birth land tour. And, it was on this trip that I learned I did not know what I thought I knew about adoption...

I have always known that I was adopted. I don't remember a time not knowing that I was. When I was younger I remember having to explain how I was a sister to my siblings even though we looked different, and there was some teasing, but most kids go through that too, and of course all of the other typical social situations and angst that you have to endure as you're finding yourself. There is something that I did wish for...I always wished that I had a picture to see why I looked like I did. I know sometimes when kids are growing up they don't like the idea of looking like their siblings, parents, or other relatives...pure denial...but that's something I did envy...still it wasn't something that was constantly on my mind. 

Up until 2nd grade I knew 2 other girls who were adopted from Korea. However, we moved and after that I didn't know any other adoptees until the trip. I was pretty naive about other adoptees stories. I imagined that they were just like me. They were born to a single mother, lived with a foster mother, and then were adopted at 6 months old...and if you're familiar with adoption stories you know how wrong I was. Yes, there were some similar stories to mine. However, as we know some were very different. And, really even if there are similarities, everyone's story is unique. For, example there was a girl who had been adopted when she was a teenager and we actually went to her orphanage where everyone still remembered her. One lady told of how her last memory of Seoul was holding someone's hand while eating a hotdog walking on the streets of Seoul, etc...

...and then on a couple of days people were going back to their agencies or actually setting up meetings to meet with family...and I have to tell you...the thought had never crossed my try to search for family or even to visit my agency. I believe it was due to the fact that I was extremely content with my life and I accepted what my original paperwork said. Even after the trip, the thought of searching didn't enter my mind.

The trip was a wonderful opportunity, which I don't think a lot of people experience. We traveled all over the country, sat in the boardroom of the Hyundai plant, stayed with host families, visited Pohang Steel Mill, went to the beach in Pusan, stayed at a local university and learned about our "motherland, being in a foreign land which was "supposed" to feel like home, etc...and now looking back,  I really appreciate the trip and all of the experiences.

I suppose the reason I'm sharing these thoughts are, yes I am an adoptee, I've always known I was an adoptee, my parents would talk about Korea and the details of my adoption, but it wasn't until recently that I started thinking about certain aspects of adoption.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

rae = return

rae = return

Our trip to Korea was amazing on so many levels. 
Our #1 reason, and if you've been following our journey, then you already know the answer! Picking up our sweet son whose face we had first glimpsed in June.

Traveling to new places is one of our favorite things to do! This was Matt's first visit to Seoul and it was only my second trip back, which is almost like new! We enjoyed visiting with old and new friends, taking in the sights, smells, and tastes of Seoul.

There is one more event that took place while we were there....and for me, it was definitely an "amazing" part of the trip.

As I type, I still can't believe that it happened or that everything fell in place like it did, for it to happen. I have to admit, it is still difficult for me to discuss in an actual conversation. Since coming back, our #1 focus has been Gavin, so I haven't had a lot of time to process what happened and what it means to me. However, I am hoping that by writing down my reflections about this experience that I will be able to capture my thoughts and feelings during this momentous time. 

I have to thank my family and my friends for their love and support during this time. 
A special thank you to Kelly Fern, author of Songs of My Families (totally promoting this book!!! could not put it down!!!) who provided me with empathy, encouragement, support, and her phone number which was priceless!!!

-i leave you with some pictures...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!!!

My mom with her mom.

My mom and I when I arrived in America. 

Wishing everyone a very Happy Mother's Day. Just a quick vid. of things we've been up to this past week!

Monday, May 7, 2012

This and That

I have come to rely on my iPhone for snapping here we go!

On Saturday, May 5, it was Children's Day in Korea. This year we didn't plan anything in particular. Instead, we celebrated by going to a birthday party! It was held at a really neat Kiddie Park where the rides are perfect sizes for kids! I know someone will LOVE all of the rides someday, but for our first run we stuck with all 3 of us on the carousel. We also discovered someone LOVES watermelon!

On Friday Gavin had his first doctor's appointment. We really like his doctor. She's really sweet and great with Gavin. Thankfully he only had to get 3 shots. She said he's doing great and she'll see us back for his 2 year check up.

She also wanted some blood work done. The picture below is from today as we were registering for the blood work. As you can tell, he had no clue what was coming up next. They weighed him before the withdrawal, and thankfully he weighed enough that they could take all the blood they needed today...and it went as you can probably imagine. I have to say he held a bit of a grudge against the techs...he could have picked a cute sewn fish when they were done, but he batted it away when they offered :/

Taking Fluffy on a walk, a special gift from his cousins.

This is what I saw when it was bath time tonight...

...and at bedtime, granted Ace has since moved, but...

Gracie is still on the futon...

The dogs really are doing well with Gavin but Ace and Gracie watch out for him. If you know Callie, she tolerates him. :-)

There's a pretty big storm passing over SA, thankfully our guy can sleep through anything as long as you can get him to sleep. :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 3, 2012

1 Week Home

Today marks our first week home! It's hard to believe that about this time last week we were literally just arriving at our home. 


We are learning in our house what a difference one day can make. 
We saw this pattern forming in Seoul. Each day Gavin became more comfortable with us and our surroundings, and then it was time to "go home" When we "got home" we were dealing with 3 sick people and fighting jet lag, which is a challenge in itself. 

What has happened this week?

Gavin no longer cries when he travels in the car. In Korea, as far as I know, babies are not in car seats. So, to get off a plane and then be strapped into a strange contraption while you're overtired isn't the funnest thing in the world...and he definitely let us know that on the way home. However, we have been going at least one place a day in the car and now there's not a whimper from him.

For the past two nights, Gavin has been sleeping in his crib. I'm still sleeping in his bedroom with him so I can comfort him if he wakes up, but he's doing a great job. He is a restless sleeper and he would have had to compete with the dogs in our bed, so from Night 1 he has been in his bedroom. The location of where he has slept in his room has just changed, from futon mattress with me to his crib. When he is sleeping, that seems to be the time when he still shows grief so we are there to make sure he is comforted right away, since when trying to see if he can self soothe, it's not happening during this tumultuous time in his life. 

Each day he is attaching more and more to Matt. Originally he would smile at Matt, but that was it. Then he let Matt help him walk up and down the stairs. The dogs were the first ones to receive kisses from Gavin, but Matt got kisses before me, and is more willing to give Matt a kiss if asked. Also, tonight he let Matt help him in and out of his car seat and allowed Matt to hold him while we were talking with a neighbor. We knew it would happen, but again when you're over tired...things seem a little more desperate...

He LOVES the dogs...and the dogs are very good with him. 

We are still speaking the few Korean phrases we know and he is beginning to learn some English. Sometimes I think he thinks we're ridiculous...speaking jibberish/nonsense to him and he just bursts out laughing at us. LOVE his laughter!

There has been plenty of laughter and there have been plenty of tears shed, too... they are not all Gavin's. What really helps is the support and advice that we have gotten from other parents who have recently adopted in regards to some adoption concerns and of course parenting advice in general. Being a first time parent with a toddler, who is trying to do the best he can in a strange new place is hard...but I can say we know it's worth it and we would be willing to do it again. 

So, that's our week in a nutshell! We appreciate your support and love that still surrounds us!
PS-We promise we are working on table manners.