We're slowly beginning to feel like ourselves. The jet lag has not been as brutal as I thought it would be. Gavin went to sleep around 9ish, which is close to when he would go to sleep in Korea. Nap time and bedtime are still an adjustment. Typically, I will walk him around in the carrier, until he falls into a deep sleep and then I will lay down with him in the carrier on our futon mattress which we've put on the floor. I'll typically lay down with him to make sure he's asleep, but then I'm able to leave and we watch him on our monitor.
Tonight we were finally able to unpack the majority of the things that we brought home from Korea. We were very fortunate that the foster family packed us 2 duffel bags full of clothes, hats, toys, etc... that Gavin had in Korea. Some of the special mementos from his foster family include:
Baby Food, with a special spoon that we are going to keep forever!!!
A name chop that his foster family purchased for him.
We also received a photo album and pictures from his first birthday, Tol, which is a momentous occasion/celebration especially in Korea. I had planned to share some of the pics, but that will have to wait for another night. The scanner does not want to cooperate at the moment.
We'll leave you with this photo. Gavin has a great smile, and this is the expression that we typically see on his face. It's amazing the difference one day will make to the next. We continue to pray for his heart as he makes his adjustments to his life with us and we continue to pray for his foster family that they are finding peace in their hearts. I hope that one day I will be able to post a picture of this remarkable family, so you can see who loved our sweet boy for over a year of his life.
Gavin did really well on the flight from Korea. As long as I would walk with him around the plane, he would not cry at all. Something we were not aware of was the meal he would get on the plane. He was a lap seat so essentially he was on my lap the whole time. When they brought his meal, it happened to be two jars of baby food, LOL. He was not interested at all. Another AP told me that you can call and change the meal, so if we get on the adoption roller coaster again we'll do that. He had plenty of snacks and our food to keep him full. We also sat by a really sweet girl from Korea who would talk with him and was very entertaining. I believe she and Matt kept up a conversation for the whole 13 hours.
When we arrived in Dallas that is where exhaustion really hit. We had to stay there for 9 hours. We tried to get an earlier flight, but they were completely booked. The first thing we did though was stop at TGIF...and although Gavin was not interested at all in his mac n cheese he sure loved eating french fries and chips with spinach dip. He also recognized pizza and loves that. It looks like he has already been exposed to some foods that we were going to try to keep him away from...and I know this is random but I have to write it when I can remember, the last time we had breakfast at our hotel he pointed at our eggs and he said "egg". :-)
When we arrived in San Antonio it was wonderful to see my parents and friends waiting for us!!! It was great that some of our cheerleaders during the process were able to make it out to the airport. Gavin started to show some of his personality at the airport!!! He has a great laugh and smile, and I think now that he's more comfortable with us it's coming out more and more.
The car ride home was typical...just like my nephew and other friends kids from Korea, who aren't used to the car seat, he was bawling up a storm, until he finally went to sleep. When we got home he was very curious...and there's some more toddler proofing we're going to have to do. He has a lot of spunk in him and one of the first things he did was put the dogs' water bowl on his head.
His furry brother and sisters don't come home until Monday...
Well, I really do have to go wake up Matt and Gavin, I'm hoping by Monday we'll be on some sort of a schedule!
Today was another rainy and windy day in Seoul. We did venture out once to Emart. I regret that we didn't get a pic, but one of the coolest things about Emart is that it has an escalator that shopping carts go on. The escalator is essentially a ramp and then there are also magnets on the carts that help them stay put. We really didn't buy anything, but it was fun to look around.
We are starting to see more and more of Gavin's personality come out. When he is tired or in a new situation, he will cling to me. However, this boy was full of joy tonight. He loved hearing us say the few phrases that we know in Korean...and if you twirl him in the air...he has a laugh that starts in his belly and then explodes. It's a joy to see and hear how he is adjusting to us.
This sculpture is in the park across from our hotel. It is called the Millennium Eye. Matt did a wonderful job of capturing the statue during the day and night.
It's hard to believe that we are packing and heading to the airport tomorrow morning. If we could, we would stay for another few weeks, but we know it's important to get Gavin home and start adjusting to his life with us there.
This trip has been amazing on so many different levels. Matt and I feel so fortunate with everything that has happened. Our hearts are bursting. Personally, I know that a piece of my heart will be left in Seoul. Although, it is difficult to leave I know we will return soon. Thank you for your love and support!!!!
Today was a great day. Although, it's only day #2 with Gavin, he is showing that he trusted us more than the day before. Today signs of grief were primarily displayed when he was tired. He is being a super trooper. I can't imagine what is going through his head right now. At this point in time I am the one he comes to when he wants to be carried. I am so thankful to a sweet friend who let us borrow their ERGO carrier. I don't know what we would have done without it!
He enjoys being outdoors so today we spent a lot of time outside. A smile at breakfast.
The streets of Insadong.
A beautiful park we came across in Insadong.
The busy marketplace of Namdaemun. You can find anything and everything here!
Someone was very sleepy tonight. Wishing you sweet dreams wherever you are!
Forever Family Day! April 23, 2012 Holt Korea 3:00 pm
I know you've been waiting...so here it goes! You might be wondering how we passed the time before our big meeting. To be honest, we relaxed. This is the first day that we weren't out the door walking the city....and it felt great! We prepped our room for Gavin and then prepped our thank you gifts. Matt went to the fitness center to work out and I was planning on going to the fitness center...that was until I opened my eyes and realized I had actually napped away my time. It was a short cab ride and there it was! The building we've seen in numerous pictures from other families! When we got out of the cab we snapped the picture and our social worker was waiting on the doorstep ready to greet us. The first thing we took care of was some business in their business office...and as I was going to go in the hallway, who did I see but Gavin with his foster mother. She came into the office and pointed to him and said Min-Seo, and then she pointed to me and Matt and said mommy, daddy. We smiled and waved and then she headed to a different room.
DJ returned, and took us upstairs to the meeting room. In the room were Gavin's Foster grandma, mommy, and sister. They really are beautiful people. It was such a pleasure to meet them. Gavin was very quiet at first, mainly sitting on his foster sister's lap. Slowly he started to become more active going to his foster grandma, then foster mom, and then his foster sister. During this time Matt and I had the opportunity to ask many questions. The foster family was very willing to share answers. For example, he loves being outside, he loves dogs, he loves playing with other children, he is very smart, and he is also very head strong. They also said he was the king of the castle. ;-) Closer to the end of the meeting he was willing to take some snacks from me. Then it was time to pose for a pic with the foster family, where someone from the agency took pictures as well as our social worker. We headed down stairs and the doctor gave him his last check up to make sure that he was healthy and ready to go, which we are happy to say he is. Our social worker put Gavin in Matt's arms and he was able to hold him without being upset, and then as we walked outside I was able to hold him with no tears either.
The social worker asked me to give the foster family a moment with him, let them hold them one more time but when I asked they said no, and at this point I could see that their hearts were breaking for him. Tears were being shed and they were blowing kisses to him and waving and saying bye bye. Gavin was watching quietly the whole time...and then it was time to get in the cab to go back to our hotel.
I mentioned in another post that we have been horrible about taking pictures. As we rode back to the hotel, I realized we didn't get a picture of the three of us. Thankfully the hotel clerks are very kind and they were willing to snap one!
As we walked back to the room we were wondering aloud to ourselves when we thought Gavin might start grieving, which is an essential part of the process. He was fine in the elevator, he was fine when he first took off his shoes, he started playing with the door a bit...he walked around the room a little bit and then he crumpled up on the floor and started sobbing. His foster family had sent a pillow and many other things, too. However, even the pillow couldn't console him. We tried to distract him with a snack or a toy, but that did not work. So, we decided to leave the room and go outside...and that did the trick. Matt blew bubbles to him and he enjoyed popping them, we walked around a bit and decided it would be a good time to eat. So, we headed back to the hotel room...and the moment we went into the hotel room he began to cry again. So we quickly gathered our things and headed outside one more time.
After walking around for awhile we decided we were going to have to go inside at sometime, so we went for it. We decided though when we went inside we would not turn on any lights and make a beeline for the bedroom as well as grab his pillow...and guess what, no tears!!!
In fact, take a look at this smile! It looks like someone is used to getting his picture taken!
His foster mother said that he likes listening to music to help him sleep, so right now Matt and Gavin are sleeping peacefully listening to some tunes.
Tonight, I pray that his foster family finds peace in their hearts. I know that this is a major loss for them. In fact, Gavin's foster mom has decided to go back to teaching kindergarten. Gavin will be their only foster child. I am so grateful that Gavin had such a loving and caring foster family...and that he will always have "family" in Korea.
Sweet dreams from Seoul!!! Thanks again for all of the love! We can't wait to see everyone!
Sorry for the delayed post, but I could not keep my eyes open another minute once we got home, so thanks for waiting!
One of the great things about our hotel is it has a washer and dryer...and they happen to be the same machine. The challenge is that unfortunately in the booklet that the hotel left, they have a different washer/dryer pictured. So...I randomly pushed buttons for the washer and i was able to wash our clothes, but when it was time to dry I had to go to the front desk and ask, since my attempt to dry set the clothes into a second wash cycle. If you're wondering which button to press for drying it's the last one on the right before the big dial. It's funny, I tried to take the clothes out of the dryer early, but I could not open the door to save my life. I was pulling with both hands yanking at the door, but I suppose since the screen said "hot" it was dangerously too hot. Our clothes came out perfectly dry and they hadn't shrunk either, so I'll take that as a win!!!
It was another cold, wet, and rainy day, so when we called our friend Brian he suggested visiting a museum, which we thought was a great idea! Before we met with him though we wanted to go to the World Cup Stadium and EMart. Matt had been dying to ride the subway, so we took off on our mile trek to find the subway. While walking we noticed that the construction barriers all had artwork. Pretty cool, huh?
This piece of artwork has trees growing out of it.
I'm sure you can tell what this is.
If you love cats then this is the one for you! We finally made it to the subway and made our trip over to World Cup. When we arrived at World Cup we went to the Home Plus Store, which has EVERYTHING in it. What we actually bought at Homeplus was all of the toys that we wanted to buy at EMart. I was also trying to find some clothes as souvineers. At one shop a sweet lady asked why we were in Korea. I explained that we were here adopting our son. She and the owner of the store automatically started crying, and then the shop owner gave us a gift of socks and some masks for Gavin. I was very touched by their reaction. However, it definitely was food for thought in regards to the country's views on adoption, etc...
Sorry got side tracked. After Homeplus we headed to the War Memorial of Korea. It was a very interesting museum. As you are walking towards the entrance there's a "hall" where they have all of the soldiers names listed who sacrificed their lives during the Korean War.
This drum was made to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the ROK armed forces. Absolutely gorgeous!
We learned quite a bit about the Turtle Ship pictured below, as well as many other aspects about the military history of Korea. Matt really loved the museum with all of it's diverse exhibits. Outside there are many sculptures as well as military vehicles, planes, etc... We would have walked around longer, but we were getting pretty cold.
So....we headed to Itaewon! We quickly did a little bit of shopping and then it was time for dinner! And yes, I happen to have a picture of it! It was AMAZING!!! It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Just in case you're wondering...we had 1 order of pork, and 3 orders of beef and they had to replace the coals once, LOL. I'm really going to miss this style of cooking...sigh.
More artwork as we walked home from the subway station.
The last two days have been cold and rainy. Matt is not holding my umbrella upside down. It is a constant battle between me and the wind fighting for the use of my umbrella!!!! Unfortunately, this means I haven't been able to take as many pictures outside, but hopefully we'll see the sun today or tomorrow!
I know what you're thinking...where are the pics of Gavin? They are coming soon to a blogpost for you. In less than 12 hours we will finally meet our sweet boy. :-)
I'm praying that the transition is easy for Gavin's foster mother, that the ache in her heart will ease quickly. I know it's her job, but what a special job...To be able to give so much love and care freely and unselfishly to someone who will only be with you for a short amount of time. His foster family will always have a special place in our hearts and we hope to keep in contact as he grows older.Mere words or even gifts can express the gratitude we feel towards this special family. It's overwhelming when I think about it.
Thank you for your love and support over the past year. I know we couldn't have made it this far without you!!! We'll see you later!!! :-)
Before I start our blog post about today, I noticed some replies wanting to see pics of Gavin. We wish we had some, but we have not had our meeting at the agency yet. Our meeting is scheduled Monday afternoon in Korea. Don't worry, we'll share plenty...but for now you'll have to w.a.i.t.
Today we were able to visit with a bunch of friends. It was wonderful! Our first visit was with our friend Matt, who we know from college. Matt has actually been living here for quite awhile. He is fluent in Korean and definitely knows the streets of Seoul. We met him at Seoul Station, and he was able to take us shopping. We also ate lunch at a wonderful Korean restaurant up this street. It was delicious as usual!!! It was great to reminisce and he had us in stitches.
The next friend we saw was a special family that we met through adoption. Although I would love to post a picture, out of respect for their privacy I will not. Our friends had their special meeting to pick up their son last Wednesday...and he is sweet, cute, adorable...I could keep listing adjectives for lines and lines. You can already tell that he loves his mommy and his daddy. One thing that tells me they could have a future Kpop star in their family is when another friend took out his camera to take pictures, their son knew exactly how to ham it up for the camera. He posed and would look straight at the lens. It was adorable! We are so happy for our friends and we hope they will have a safe and peaceful trip home.
The last friend we were able to visit with was our friend Brian. I actually met Brian on an adoptee trip to Korea in 1994. It's great to see him in the city where we first met. Brian took us to see some of the sights and shops of Seoul in the evening. It was really spectacular to see. There is an electricity that Seoul has, which Matt and I both LOVE! I would love to write more details, however my other half who has a much better memory for details is is conked out. So he will have to add 2 cents tomorrow.
It was a rainy and cold day today. We are hoping for some sunshine so we can easily shop in some of the markets. Hope you're having a great day and we'll see you tomorrow.
...so just in case you're wondering...only 2 more days until we get our sweet boy! Nighty night!!!
I know this may be strange, but I am loving the time change! As some of you may know, I am a morning person and Matt is a total night owl. Well, thanks to the time change and the lack of sleep for Matt and a ton of sleep for me on the plane, I feel like we have found the perfect schedule! Matt actually was up and ready for breakfast at 7 this morning. I realize if we stayed here long enough we would change back to our "normal" bio rhythms, but I'm lovin it right now!
So, what should we do on our first day in Seoul? We headed to Namsan Park. We took a cab to the park, since we had to make it to ESWS by 3:00 and I grew too impatient trying to find the subway. Once we got there, the driver had planned to take us to the cable car, but due to the fact we didn't have our passports, he couldn't... So, we walked!
The flowers are blossoming in Seoul. It is a spectacular sight to see!
Okay, well we officially called this our physical exertion activity. The only thing I can compare this "hike" to is if you've ever hiked up Diamond Head on Oahu, HI. Everyone was huffing and puffing by the time they reached the top of these stairs.
...and here comes another set...although these didn't seem as horrible....
...but wait, don't forget this next incline up the mountain...
...and we've finally made it to a road...we're almost to the top...
...well we thought we were almost to the top... ...and well, we made it to the top, but it was tough work. It was definitely worth the trek, but if you decide you want to hike up Namsan to the tower, I highly suggest you start using the stair master or take a step class ASAP. Now, I believe this next event was due to my delirium from trekking to the top, but when we entered the elevator to the tower, the elevator guide said to stare at the ceiling. Matt like the good obedient tourist did, (there was a short movie that was supposed to be like shooting to the stars)...and what did I do, I started laughing hysterically. I'm not sure why it happened, but once I start I can't stop. Hopefully the elevator operator decided I was just crazy and wasn't offended. The views were spectacular and on each window there were different cities listed and how far they were from Seoul Tower.
What's Matt doing here? He is writing a "love note" to Gavin from the highest tower in the world.
We told him that we can't wait to have our Forever Family day and that one day we will return to Seoul to reminisce about our special memories.
...so after the climbing and the shopping we decided to indulge and have a small feast in one of the tower restaurants
Here is our view from where we were sitting. If you look towards the middle of the picture of the building with the green roof, that is where we began our trek.
Yes, I'm in heaven partly because of some of the food. I'm not sure if you can read this, but it's a Bi Bim Bop station...YUM!
Is your mouth watering? I know mine is!
Yum!!! What can I say, the picture says it all!!!
After lunch we walked back down the mountain...and it was much easier in regards to breathing. Loved it! If you have the time, I suggest you visit!
The next place we visited is very special. It was the agency that my nephew and I were adopted through in Korea. Eastern Social Welfare Society. We had the opportunity to meet Robbie's foster mother. She is such a sweet and happy lady. Its wonderful that Robbie had a happy and loving foster mother.
After Robbie's FM left. We had a few minutes to go into the Eastern Baby Nursery. Too precious for words!!!
Well, Matt is already "sawing logs" and I'm falling asleep at the keyboard so that's my cue to exit! Thanks for thinking of us! Will do another update tomorrow!