Monday, February 21, 2011

"Gotcha" Day....

We "got" Kate on November 26th, 2009. Her "gotcha" day. More like the day we kidnapped her, if you want the truth....

This was truly one of the best/scariest/emotionally charged days of my life! We arrived at the agency in the afternoon and were escorted into what I can best describe a the lobby. There were a bunch of foster parents with their babies waiting to see the doctor. They were squirming and wiggling and babbling; I wanted to take each of them! Our foster mom had not arrived yet and we were left to make small talk with our social worker about this and that. I remember being so quiet, so unlike myself, so introspective about what was occurring. I whole heartedly believe that adoption is an amazing process. Being allowed to parent my girl is huge responsibility, one I do not take lightly. It is awesome to me that a Mom can love her baby so much that she forsakes her own happiness to give her child more, not necessarily better, but more. I don't think I could do it. But I am so lucky that she could.

When our FM arrived with Kate, she was already crying. I thought I would cry, too, but I didn't. I simply couldn't. I put my arms around her and gave her what I could which amounted to some incoherent mumbles and a few pats on the back. I admire her strength. Her commitment to raising babies and then handing them over to strangers, trusting that they will be cared for in the same way that she had cared for them. We made small talk and I really have no idea what else because all I could focus on was the fact that this was really going to happen. The moment came when there was nothing left to do but do it. FM handed over the baby that she had nurtured for 16 months. And than she wailed. I have never heard a more soulful sound, ever. It came from the depths of her. She could not let go. She would not let go. I clung to her and she to me with Kate all smooshed in the middle. Finally, the social worker ordered me to just go. I stared at her for a moment and then turned and left the building. Kate was screaming bloody murder, I was red-faced and sweating and FM chased me. I didn't know what to do, so I stood there, letting her grab atKate until Brian and the social worker pushed us away. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do; just walk away. I could hear her pleas and cries from down the street. Awful.

As we walked back to our room with our new, screaming toddler, I cried. People stared. I cried more. Kate pushed against me to try and get away. She did not want to be in my arms. Brian tried to take her and she clawed at me to keep holding her, choosing the best of two bad options in her little mind. We got back and went upstairs and tried to give her a bottle. She cried herself to sleep snuggled close to me, in my arms, where it must have felt like the closest thing to her Halmoni that she could get. Poor, sad baby.

When she woke a few hours later, she just watched us. She let me hold her and murmured "mama" over and over again - the Korean word for eat. I fed her and she peered at us with these beautiful almond colored eyes and then....she smiled. And we smiled back. Our journey as a family had begun....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Picking Up The Pieces.

It's been awhile ~ I'm sorry ~ the last post on this blog left a bad taste in my mouth. Because it came from my mouth. I am blessed to be this child's mother. It was not her choice to be my child and I am so lucky that I was chosen! And I love her so much. It's different than my bio kids because that love had to grow ~ it didn't come just because the papers were signed. I want to continue the story that I started....

After the first meeting, our social worker concluded that all had not gone very well and suggested to Kate's foster Mom that we come to her house and stay a bit so that Katie could get used to us and feel a bit more comfortable. FM agreed and arraignments were made for the following day. We were a bit shell-shocked that this little girl didn't even look at us, not to mention play with us or let us hold her and we talked about ways we could entice her a bit at our next meeting. We were exhausted and emotionally spent at this point in the trip and we decided that we'd wait and see what the next day brought and we prayed that we'd make some progress with our new daughter.

We took the bus to the FM house and rode the elevator up eight floors to a tiny two bedroom apartment that was brightly lit, comfortable and scattered with play things for Katie. A sign to me that she was well cared for and loved. FM had made an extra effort to set out the thing we had previously sent. She also prepared a small, traditional Korean celebratory meal for us with special rice cakes, Asian pears (my hubs ate nearly all of them and the FM loved that so much that she bought him another on our way to the bus stop), small candies and juice. I was so touched by her efforts to make us feel welcome. My heart ached that the next day she would hand over the baby that she had doted on and raised for the last 14 months. I cannot begin to understand that kind of love. I am truly forever grateful that she gave Kate a running start in life! We had also purchased small gifts for FM and her family and had brought them with us. I had chosen a special necklace with a heart shaped charm for her. We gave the family American treats and coffee and a few pictures of our family to keep. She gave us most of Kate's things, a few gifts from her family to Kate, the PJ's Kate wore home from the hospital and a hand written letter for Katie to read that included a prayer and hopes for her future. I love these items and I will treasure them forever. My girl is so lucky to have two women in Korea that love her enough to let her come home with me! I hope one day to re-meet FM and maybe even Kate's birth mom.

 Kate allowed me to feed her a bottle and hammed it up for us while we were in her "space". She smiled at Brian a lot and nibbled on the treats. After a few hours, it was time for us to go and FM bundled her up in a sling and walked us to the bus stop. Kate fell asleep before we left and I watched her; all snuggled up to the women she knew as "Halmoni" or "Grandma", so content and completely unaware of what was to take place the next day.....
Brian, FM & Kate and our social worker
Katie at our 1st meeting - so sleepy!

Kate and I - our 1st photo together

Happy girl! At FM's house!