Soaking it up!

I feel terrible that I have not updated our blog in a day or so…Ok, not really terrible! I have much more important things to be doing…like playing with my son.

That being the case I will just add a few tidbits from yesterday and today and a photo or two! ; )

Jeong-hwan is doing well. We’ve been through a lot in just the last 48 hours. HUGE strides! As I’ve said, he adores his daddy and tolerates me but we are really coming along. He has not been feeling well. Tummy issues and hasn’t wanted to drink much. We purchased 4 types of cups here and Holt gave us a cup but he would not drink out of any of them. He just takes his hand and pushes it away. Finally tonight he took a bottle from ME. Yes, he is almost two and still on a bottle. That is very common here in Korea and we are not going take anything else away from him right now. He has already lost so much.

Yesterday we only got out in the afternoon to run to the grocery store and over to the Holt office to take some donations and care packages for other adopting families. I’m pretty sure Maddox thought we were taking him back to his umma and didn’t take  kindly to being at the office. He slept well again last night. He went down about 9 and woke up once at 5 for a drink of water and back down until 8.

Today we stayed around the apartment since his tummy wasn’t feeling well. This afternoon he was full of smiles and laughter. It was a fun glimpse into his little personality. We are SO crazy about this little guy and can’t wait to be home and settled as a family of 5!

He isn’t saying many Korean words and we have not heard any of those. Mostly he whimpers and grabs our hands when he wants something. Usually that something is to go outside. He understands when we speak to him in Korean..well most of the time. The other times I’m 99% sure we are saying it wrong. When he gets upset I rock him and sing this song I made up with the Korean words for don’t cry and It’s ok. As terrible as I sing he usually calms right down and lays his head on my shoulder.

Well, I’m off to bed. We have a fun playdate at the zoo tomorrow with two other families. I’ll leave you with a few photos.

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A little bit about our 1st day together!

I promise, promise to write about our day Yesterday soon but I still need a bit of time to process. I did want to share a little bit about our time with Maddox so far. So, I’ll start when we left Holt and just go from there.

Maddox has not been feeling well and his foster mother said she felt like he knew what was going on so he was fussy and upset the entire meeting. : ( My heart was just breaking for him and inside I was scared that he would be terrified of us and just cry for his umma and appa. I know how much he loves them and that was VERY apparent yesterday. Tough stuff!

The cab ride

However, when we got in the cab he never cried again. I guess he was in shock. He looked out the window and ate a few puffs and then laid down on my chest and went to sleep. He slept for a little over an hour and when he woke up he was a happy boy. We just played on the floor for hours and had the best time. He is very cautious and reserved..so basically the exact opposite of our big kids. : )

Back in our room

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Having some yogurt. His foster mother said this was one of his favorites and was so sweet to send some home with him.

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He loves this mirror and wanders over to it every few minutes! If I was this cute I would stand at the mirror too!

Maddox is very drawn to David. He likes men and also was very attached to his foster dad. Here he is checking out David’s facial hair! He would reach out to touch him and just giggle.

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I could just stare at him all day. He brings us so much joy!

After we played in the room awhile he grabbed his shoes and wanted to go to the door. So, we thought we would take a walk around the grounds. We played outside for awhile and then made our way down to the play area here at DMCville. He is SO cautious. It makes me laugh because I’ve never parented a child that didn’t just GO. It’s a fun change. We came back up to the room and ordered a pizza. He had not been wanting to eat but took down 2 pizza crusts like a champ followed by some yogurt. He did not want a bottle or his juice cup and I was worried because he really needed to drink something. Finally David suggested that we try water from an actual cup. He gulped it down. I tried the bottle again just in case (his foster mom said he was taking one in the morning and at night) but as soon as the milk came out of the bottle he threw up. Everywhere! We put him in the shower and got his PJ’s on. We played for a bit longer and he seemed fine.

We were able to Skype with the big kids for a few minutes and it was fun showing Maddox to them. The reception was not very clear though so I’m ready for the real deal. Dawson looked at Maddox and said, “Hey Maddox! Can I teach you how to talk?” It was just precious! After Skype he was clearly tired so I rocked him and sang for a few minutes and then passed him off to his daddy (total daddy’s boy) and David laid down with him. It was about 9pm here. He tolerates me and I can play, feed, change him but if there is a choice he picks his daddy.  He was asleep in 5 minutes and slept until 7 am this morning without waking.

I’ll update more about our day today later on tonight. Our little guy is up from his nap so I have run!

The Last Night

Well, it’s here. This is the last night I will go to sleep with out our Maddox. For 1 year,  3 months and 1 week I have ached to hold my sweet boy. I’ve watched him grow from a precious, chubby little infant..

into a handsome little toddler…

There is so much I want to say and share but I’m just not in the mindset to do that tonight. I can’t keep my mind off  Maddox and his precious foster mom and I just keep imagining her going through his bedtime routine one last time. I’m sure at this moment she is holding him in her arms for what will be the last time she ever puts him to sleep. It just does not seem right. Adoption is born out of so much loss. All these heartbreaking moments must happen for this little boy, my son, to have a forever family. He has lost so much and tomorrow he will lose even more but he will also gain a mommy and daddy that will never have to say goodbye.

Please don’t get me wrong I could not be happier that this day is finally upon us but it’s just not as easy as it sounds….for anyone involved. All of us will be going through big life changes tomorrow and David and I are the only ones that are all that excited about it.

Please pray for my sweet baby boy and the woman he knows as his umma. Pray the Lord holds them extra close tonight and that their last night together is filled with joy and not sadness. Pray we can all be strong tomorrow. Pray for supernatural understanding for Maddox. That his transition goes well and that he allows David and I to comfort him as he grieves this loss. Pray that his foster family can find peace and that we can express our gratitude to them in a way that no language barrier could reduce.  Just pray!

 

 

 

Korea Day 3 ~ Morning {Onnuri English Ministry}

This morning we had the absolute pleasure of attending a church service at Onnuri English Ministry here in Seoul. Those of you from the Korean adoption world are likely familiar with Pastor Eddie Byun from his work on the “Voice of Love” campaign. We really were not sure what to expect but ventured out anyway and I’m so glad we did. We arrived about 30 minutes early and the moment we walked in the building we were greeted with friendly faces. . We sat down and watched the worship ministry warm up and were blessed by their music. Then Eddie (Pastor Byun) , as he introduced himself, came over to chat with us and welcome us to the church. He asked how we found out about the church and we told him the “Voice of Love” campaign and were able to share some of our adoption story with him. He was genuinely excited for us.

Right before the service was about to start we glanced back and saw a familiar face! My friend, Wendi, and her family came in with another traveling family and sat behind us. Wendi was the one who mentioned going to Onnuri and I was so glad she did because it worked out perfectly!

After the announcements, Pastor Byun asked us to stand up… (Gasp) and then proceeded to ask the entire congregation to lay hands on us (along with the other two families) and they all prayed out loud for our families and our new children…some in English and some in Korean. It was such an incredible moment! Then Pastor Byun prayed aloud for us as well and it was all I could do to keep the tears from pooling on the ground.

The sermon he gave was a the 3rd in a series on Marriage he is giving and it was incredible as well. Afterwards we were able to chat with him a bit more about the Voice of Love Campaign. He truly believes that positive change is on the horizon and we are so hopeful for that as well. He asked that we continue to pray and of course we will. So many of these sweet babies need a forever family!

Afterwards, we joined Wendi (and family) and Leigh (and family) for lunch at McDonald’s in the CoEX mall. The food was ok but the conversation was wonderful. I really love getting the opportunity to meet up with other traveling families and hear their stories.

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Wendi (on left) and Leigh (on right) after lunch

By the time we got back to the room ( an hour ride on the subway) it was around 3pm. We relaxed in the room awhile and then headed down to the lobby to meet two adoptive families for dinner. Both are staying here in our hotel. I did not know the Sneller family very well before but they are hearing to bring home their two year old son and also have a 2 year old daughter. Both are just the most precious kids! We so enjoyed meeting their family and their friend, Ellie, that traveled with them. And also, The Brokaws!! Heather and I have been friends throughout our whole process and I have to say I was so very excited to meet her here in Seoul!! She will be meeting her sweet Jax on Wednesday and I’m just thrilled for her. We ended up going to a yummy Italian place right around the corner called BonAppetite. It was a fun night! Here is a picture of the group of us when we got back to the hotel.

Korea Day 2 {Seoul Tower}

Today was such a fun day.  I finally feel like we are getting a grip on the transportation aspect of Seoul. That alone is enough to make this girl happy! Last night I was in meltdown mode just from being so tired and well frankly lost! Seoul is the 2nd largest city in the world and it takes a day or two to really understand how to get around…or it did for us. Maybe we are slow learners? : )

We made plans to meet up with two other traveling families for lunch at Seoul tower. Seoul Tower is well…a really tall tower. ; ) I think it was originally a broadcast tower but has now turned into a pretty famous tourist attraction. The tower itself is on top of Mt. Namsan and the whole area is surrounded by a several acre park. You can hike up the hill or take a cable car. And would you believe that I took the cable car?!? Yes, yes I did! : ) I’m not sure what has come over me. Street food and now cable cars?

We made it to the top just after 11 and headed up to the restaurant. There we met up with the Reed family and my partner in “waiting purgatory” crime aka Kristen. It was so nice to meet these girls in person. They both have their sweet babies already so it was fun to see how they are adjusting and just take in the absolute cuteness. We ate at a yummy little Italian place where every single one of us ordered a Margherita Pizza. What are the odds? Here are a few shots from the morning.

View from the cable car

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Breathtaking!

Breathtaking!

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Big brother Riley and sweet Aiden

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Sweet Cheeked Sarah!!

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Ok, Where’s my baby?

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Sweet girls!

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A big pat on the back to anyone who knows why I took a picture in front of the hot chocolate machine in the lobby of the cable car building!! ; )

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There was a sketch artist near the entrance and we had him sketch a picture of Maddox as a gift for his foster mom. I hope she likes it!

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Finished product! It looks amazing!!!

We will take Maddox back to Seoul tower next week so we can put our lock on the gates. I’ll explain the meaning behind that then and post a few more pictures of the sights and sounds at the top of Mt. Namsan. It was a fun morning. So glad we had the chance to meet up with Kristen, April and their crews! Sweet girls with two very precious new babies.

When we left Seoul tower we caught a cab to the CoEx mall which is underground. We really just walked around and browsed. There is an aquarium there that we want to take Maddox to later in the week. The mall itself was incredibly packed. We found an Outback Steakhouse and sat down for a nice American meal but they don’t have bloomin’ onions!? The nerve! ; ) After that we headed back to the room for the night. David already crashed and I’m not far behind him!

Korea Day 1 {City Tour}

We ended up going to bed last night around 9. We set the alarm for 6:30 am and joked that we were so tired we might sleep straight through it.

Yeah..that didn’t happen. We both woke up around 3 and could not go back to sleep. David got dressed and went down to the gym at 4 but it was closed until 7. So, we sat up and watched very lame Korean TV and snacked on what food we had left from the plane ride. : )

We headed down for breakfast at 8 and had time to check out some of the layout of DMCville (where we are staying). There is a 7/11 attached to the building and some type of chicken restaurant that I’m not too sure about. (Maybe similar to a KFC?) A playground, driving range… you name it. It’s a really neat place.

Then we headed to the lobby where we met up with our sweet tour guide for the day, Ju Won. Yes, I do know I look terrible. We forgot to take a picture together at the beginning of the day so this is us (after conquering Seoul all day )just before we said goodbye. 🙂

We took a cab to our the subway entrance and these were the first real sight of Seoul we had gotten to see. It’s really a beautiful city. Such a mix of ultra modern and historic buildings…and then the incredible mountains in the backdrop.

We headed over to Gyeongbok Palace. Gyeongbok Palace, is a royal palace located in northern Seoul, South Korea. First constructed in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty.The name of the palace, Gyeongbokgung, translates in English as “Palace of Shining Happiness.” I can’t really describe it other than WoW! The buildings were so beautiful and ornately painted. The mountains in the background will take your breath away! We wandered around the grounds for quite some time and asked Ju Won and million questions! 🙂

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After that we went to the Korean Folk Museum. I wish we had more time to see all the exhibits but it was ultra modern and very interesting! The day was pretty hot so we found some Coke (Praise the Lord that Korea has REAL Coke.). Ju Won got what she called the Korean version of “Powerade” and I made her hold our drinks up so I could be the weird touristy American taking pictures of a soda can. She was always a sport and even had me taking pictures of things I had not thought of!

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Outside of the museum

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Maddox was born in the year of the Tiger. {Auburn not Clemson I am certain of it}

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I was born in the “Year of the Pig”

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“Year of the Ram” for David

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Korean Coke saved my life!

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The Korean version of Powerade

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Next we headed over to Insadong, which is an open air market. I can’t even really describe that either but it was bustling! Lots of street vendors, shops, people! Before the trip I became captivated learning about the street food in Seoul and I had a list of things I wanted to try. If you know me then you know that I’m really NOT an adventurous eater but I conquered most of my list and LOVED it all!

This past weekend was the Lotus Lantern Festival. We just missed it but there were tons of lanterns lining the streets still.

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View of the crowded streets in Insadong.

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Korean Starbucks. Interesting fact is that this is the ONLY Starbucks in the world that the sign is written in the country’s mother tongue as opposed to the trademark name. The story goes that Insadong originally denied the building of the Starbucks because it felt it would take away from the traditional feel of the market. Then at some point the two agreed that it would be allowed if the sign was written in hangul..

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This is one of the street vendors making what they called “Traditional Korean Sweet”.

This is a video of the vendors making the “Korean Sweets”. We didn’t take this one but this is almost the exact “show” they did for us. It’s made of honey and rice and they stretch and twist it while dipping it in cold flour until it is almost the texture of cotton candy. Then they had a mixture of 7 different types of nuts.

http://youtu.be/7FRbAGe71ts

Next up we went to Namdaemun, which is another market. We did more shopping here. I got Maddox several Pororo and Robocar Poli toys. Those are VERY popular Korean cartoons. Seriously, Pororo stuff is rather expensive!!! We know Maddox likes them though because his foster mom told us in the letter she wrote. Ju Won couldn’t believe we knew who Pororo was and I had to show her the apps we downloaded on our phone for Maddox. (I’m not sure what I expected but when we were up late watching TV we realized that they play the show on Disney channel here so that was fun to see.)

Ok, back to the market… We got Reagan a hanbok (traditional Korean dress) for her Barbies and Dawson a few Power Ranger items. 😉 We also picked up a few small things on our list but plan to go back to both markets later this week. Having Ju Won with us was great because she could haggle on prices. I’m thinking we will not be as successful when we go alone! I took almost no pictures at Namdaemun except of food. I’ll get some shots of the streets and vendors when we go back later in the week.

On the far right is Ohjinguh twikim (fried squid) and Kimari..I think (japchae noodles wrapped in seaweed and fried tempura style). I loved Kimari but will admit that I didn’t try the squid. David said it was much like calamari which I don’t care for so I skipped that.

In the middle is rice cake and fish strips in a spicy called Dukbokgi. I LOVED this one..especially the rice cakes.

I’m not sure what the Korean name for the one on the back left is but it’s the fish strips in a broth with seasonings and it was ok. Up front is pickled radish which Ju Won says are the Korean equivalent to pickles on the side. : )

 

This is Hoddeok. It’s a sweet, yeast pan fried type pancake. It has different fillings but the ones we had were filled with a honey mixture. Sometimes they also have nuts. These were my favorite. David says they taste a lot like an elephant ear. Yummy! I will be getting more of these! They are only a 1,000 won so a cheap and yummy treat while shopping!

Ok, well I was hoping to finish this up with our evening but I must jump in the shower. We are meeting some friends( that are here adopting also) for lunch at Seoul Tower and I fear I’m already going to be late! Eek! I’ll finish this post tonight.

We Made It

After a very, and I do mean VERY long flight we touched down in Seoul around 5:30pm here. We are officially exhausted but so happy to be in Korea!
The airport was easy to navigate. Customs was a breeze. All our baggage arrived (huge praise!), and we were able to exchange our money right in the airport.
We walked out and immediately spotted the sign with our names. There were two other Holt families on our flight staying at another hotel that were being picked up also. Fun to meet other traveling families!

It was was about a 30 minute ride from the airport to DMCville where we are staying. Korea is beautiful. I can’t wait to really get out and see the sights!

The flight was great and because I’m always curious about the little details I’m going to share a bit more about it.

Korean Air was phenomenal. I mean seriously people they are a very service oriented organization. The flight attendants are stunning and oh so sweet. There were several babies on the plane and they went our of their way to make them happy. That eases my mind a little about our flight home.

We had our own personal little TV’s with a selection of movies, games, and television shows. There was a charger to plug in portable electronics between the seats and even a USB port beside each TV where I was able to plug in my phone. Maybe all international flights have these things..I have no clue but It’s good information to know if you’ll be flying Korea Air.

We ate two meals and several snacks throughout the flight. We had our travel agent tell the airline I had an allergy to mushrooms so I didn’t get a choice each time but that was fine by me.

This was my first meal. Grilled Chicken with Rice, carrots and broccoli, pineapple and grapes, and a roll.

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And David chose Bi Bim Bop which is a traditional Korean dish. This was altered up some but it came with Rice, Beef, mushrooms, cucumber, onions, bean sprouts..and some other stuff. 😉 Then you add Sesame oil and some spicy paste that I’m sure has a name. They even gave him a little chart to show him how to put it together. 😉

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For my 2nd meal I had a baked fish with lemon rice, salad, roll and fruit.

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And David had some type of Shrimp Pasta with these itty bitty baby shrimp. Not what he is use to seeing down on the Gulf coast for sure! And he got carrot cake! Yum! 😉

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I’m sure that’s more than most of you care to know but when you have a food allergy you always worry about these types of things so I thought it might help someone else know what to expect. We were also given roasted nuts, a banana, brownies, hot rolls.. It was a long flight so lots of food!

The biggest thing is we made it! We are figuring out things in our room and waiting for the kids to wake up so we can Skype with them and then we are off to bed. Our city tour is at 9:30 am! 🙂