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 active...so 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...