Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 16 part 2

...sorry it's taking me awhile to blog. Jet lag really kicked my butt this trip, I am going to attempt to finish blogging about the trip this week. 

After I met with Gavin's foster family I met my nieces in front of the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon, and from there they took me shopping. Our first place to visit was Namdaemun. I realize that I didn't snap a picture there, other than me in my new glasses. I wish I had looked at more frames, but I was so thrilled that I didn't have to pick our wire frames with the special nose pads, that I just bought these. I will definitely be purchasing glasses every time I return to Seoul. 

After walking around Namdaemun we walked to Myeong-dong. If you love cosmetics and fashion, then this would be heaven for you. For me, a non shopper it's intense. Mobs of people are walking through the streets. Girls are standing outside of shops shouting about the free samples that you can get from inside the store. You should at least visit once, even if it seems insane!

My nieces tell me that they are hungry, and that they want pasta. So, I treat them to a dinner at an Italian restaurant.

Apple pizza? No red sauce, just cheese apples, and dough. Pretty tasty if I say so myself!

We continue to wander around Myeongdong-this sign makes me laugh.

We continue to wander and ride up the many escalators at Lotte Department Store and look out at the street below.

The event that brings the most laughter to our excursion is getting our pictures taken in a photo booth. I am laughing so hard I can barely breathe because in the photo booths there are "blue screens" and my dress matches the blue perfectly, so when the pictures are taken I am wearing whatever is in the background. We quickly take the pics and I am told to calm down because I'm laughing so hard, LOL! Afterwards they are quickly adding little pictures and deciding which poses are best. A fun time has been had by all!

Later that night I am sitting on the floor with aboji and 3rd sister. We are comparing our hands. We notice that all of us have the same lines on our hands. I have always said that I wanted to have pictures of my Korean family to know why I look like I do...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

a special day

The other day I had the opportunity to visit with Gavin's foster family. It was so special to see this amazing family who helped nurture Gavin for 15 months of his life. We started our visit at a traditional Korean restaurant. The pictures don't was amazing!!!

Next I had the honor and privilege to visit their home. They wanted me to see where Gavin had been living. The gifts I brought were appreciated, but what was priceless in their eyes was any photo in particular a flash drive filled with video and pictures. I literally saw his foster mom and aunt playing tug of war with a photo magnet until I showed the aunt she had one too. I was told that this happens whenever pictures are sent. 

We feel so blessed to have this relationship. They are an important part of Gavin's life. When Gavin wonders what his life was like and what he was like as a baby living in Korea, they will be able to give him this precious gift. They will always be a part of our family and an important part of Gavin's life.

         brother, aunt, omma, halmoni

Saturday, June 15, 2013

a day @ eastern social welfare society

Today I spent the majority of the day at Eastern Social Welfare Society. My trip happened to coincide with the Dillon Birthland Tour, which was a real treat. I only spent a few hours with the tour group, but loved every minute! 
The first item on the agenda was meeting Dr. Kim. I will always regret that I didn't meet her father when I visited in 1994. I believe he was a great man who loved us all. It was wonderful to hear her speak. After that we took a tour of Eastern. We went to the various offices in the building and said hello.
After that we went to the file room. Eastern started adoptions in 1973. So although I'm not part of the first wave of Korea I'm in the first decade of Eastern. There are 2 rooms filled with files. This is a picture of files from the past. It is actually two rows deep of the filing cabinets and files on each side of the shelves. In the room next door are all the files that are "current". Again the shelves are 2 rows deep with files on either side. 
After that we went to the area where current babies and toddlers are waiting for adoption. We saw some real cutie pies!!!
We also saw the room where all the Eastern adoptees get their pictures taken...the red thrones. 
The morning ended with a wonderful lunch at the Eastern cafeteria. I wish I could have spent more time with the tour group. I had the chance to get to know another adoptee who was on the tour but was also staying with her birth family. It's the first time I've actually met someone in the same circumstances. It was nice to debrief for a few minutes with her. 

Onto the afternoon! It was now time to do a file review. I had never seen my file, so I thought that this would be the perfect visit to do it. To be honest my file was thick, but about 2/3 of it was filled with correspondence from the last two years in regards to reunion. 1/3 of my file was from my adoption. I saw the home study reports and the post placement reports from my parents' social worker. It was interesting to see what had been written about my parents and then my adjustment to America. The most interesting piece of paper was a handwritten paper in the back with a red thumbprint. That was my intake form. I so wanted a copy. I tried to convince the social worker, but she said she couldn't. She wanted to know why I wanted it, I'm not sure she understood. The  most interesting thing about this story though is she said I only saw that paper because I met my birth family...which makes me wonder for my friends who aren't in reunion and have done file reviews...
Next was a moment I had been looking forward to since I planned my trip...seeing my nephew's foster mother. She is a beautiful lady inside and out and can't wait until she sees my nephew again. When I told her he might be back in a few years, she started squealing with joy and clapping her hands. When she saw the CD they had sent she became very excited, too since she knew pictures would be on it. It was a gift to see her again! 
Finally I had a translated meeting with my omma and 3rd sister. It was nice to have one conversation where we understood everything each other was saying. There was a lot of laughter during our conversation. I wish there were more translations of conversations, but I'll just say that sometimes I'm thankful to not know what is being said, lol. 
Thank you Eastern for a wonderful day! I will be back soon!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Going "Home"

The last few days have been passing by in a blur. It feels like we've been going non-stop since I arrived. Questions or doubts that I've had in my head have vanished in regards to my Korean family ,and who I am is being confirmed every single day. 
We have compared hands, feet, and skin color and I can especially see traits in my omma that she has passed to me. I know I will miss it when I leave.
One of the main ways that my parents are showing their LOVE for me is an endless stream of food. Whether it's the scrumptious meals omma is making or the endless snacks that they keep giving me. 

The language barrier is a challenge. But, everyone is doing their part to try to understand each other. Tomorrow we will have a translated meeting, so hopefully the important questions and statements will be expressed.

I have always had difficulty with good byes and it's going to be very hard leaving even though my heart is in Texas.   So, I push that to the back of my mind and plan to enjoy each day to the fullest while I'm here.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Happy Dad's Day...A Week Early

...always stand by Gavin's side

...protect him him reach his dreams and catch him if he falls

...and of course have a lot of FUN!

Happy Dad's Day!

To the best daddy a little boy could ever have