Showing posts with label surprise adoption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label surprise adoption. Show all posts

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2 years ago we got a huge surprise

Two years ago today, we got an email to call our previous social worker.  I thought for sure it was to let us know we had a package or they had contact with a birth mother.  When I called, I got the shock of my life and immediately shook and cried.

Two years later, I have Jaemin, here with us, in person.  While today and the last few days he's not been feeling well, so he's been, well, GROUCHY, I LOVE this little boy with my heart and soul.  I love hearing him talk everyday as he came into the living room this morning and Brian said "J did you sleep in your bed last night?".  Jaemin quickly said "Nope, I slept in mommy's bed."  His language has just burst!  He says anything and everything and makes me so happy.  He's become the biggest little lover too.  I can't help but think back to the days when we first brought him home from Korea and he pushed so hard to get away from me.  He hit me and scratched me and just shoved me away if I tried to hold him, hug him or kiss him.  Now, he does the 'monkey hold' as we call it.  If Brian, Cole or I pick him up he wraps his arms around our necks and legs around our waists and lays his head on our shoulders.  He rubs your neck softly with his fingers as you hold him and he loves to lay close.  He still sleeps with me every single night, but most nights it's not too bad and I don't mind.  I love knowing he's there.

Where has the time gone for my baby boy?  Before you know it, he'll be as old as his oldest brother.  Two years ago I knew nothing of this boy.  I was so scared.  I worried we were possibly going to mess up the balance of our family, then.  I was so worried about rocking our happy little boat.  Little did I know our boat wasn't full yet.  It's fully now and I'm so happy God made a way for us to bring him home and to spend our lives with him.  I thank God for him and that email.

In case you don't remember, here's the first picture we saw of him (and I was in love)!
And a more recent, even though I've posted it before.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


At the beginning of 2009 we were just happy to have survived 2008, with Brian's accident.  We were recovering from that and feeling much better.  We went to our annual Lunar New Year dinner with our Korean adoption group friends and one family announced that they had received a sibling call.  I had heard of these since we started our first process back in 2002, but knew they were rare.

I remember Brian's face.  He just looked at me and said "you said these things don't happen".  I told him on the way home that night that they don't happen to people like us.  Not really meaning anything 'cause I don't really know what kind of people these things happen to.

That was at the end of January in 2009.  On March 12th I got an email from our social worker telling us to call her right away.  I immediately thought, for a fleeting second, that it could be, but pushed that out of my mind and thought she was going to tell us one of the birth mothers accessed our child's file.  I knew, right away, by her voice when I called her what she was going to say.  I remember shaking so hard.  I almost dropped the phone as I sat in my co-worker's office for privacy.

I called Brian right away and it took a lot of explaining for him to realize it really had happened to us too.  It was barely after lunch by then and we both left work to go home and discuss.  We literally knew nothing other than it was a little brother to our daughter.  We were not going to be told anything more about him unless we were truly interested.  Yadayadayada, after a LOT of crying and talking and walking through a fog for about 4 days we jumped in.

Here we are one year after that fateful call and he has been home for 10 months already.  I cannot believe this child that we never even dreamt of or planned for is here and I can't live without him.  I can't imagine our lives without him.  He is amazing and beautiful and sweet.  He makes me appreciate life in a new way.

Life changed in so many way by adding him.  We have a bigger home loan now, we emptied our savings, we have another child in daycare when we were getting close to getting them all out....BUT.  I wouldn't change it or have the money for anything in this world but him.  He's worth everything we had to go through to bring him home, including the tears and fears.  I should have known to trust God.  But, it's like jumping off into an abyss that you can't see the bottom of and finding the ground is really right there, you just had to trust and have faith.

So my littlest boy is now 18 months old and is walking and talking and doing all of the other things we have seen 4 other times, yet it's so wonderful this time, so new this time.  And, there's this piece of me that is thankful to God, not just for us (Brian and I) to be able to share our lives with him, but that he allowed the two siblings to be together and know each other.  I feel a sense of peace for their birth mother because of this.  Something to give her some happiness in her grief and loss over the years.

We love you the ends of the Earth and back and would do this all over again for you if ever given the choice.

My angel baby's first pictures we saw....two of my favorites anyways.

He is one year old in the little suit picture and the second picture is more recent, but they both show his, VERY, sweet personality.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tiny hands rubbing your arms

This is what I get.

I've had kind of a crappy day today.  Nothing specific just not such a great day at work and rough evening at home.  I was finally sitting down after all the kids went to bed and was just reading when Jaemin woke up.  Just a couple of small whimpers.  I crawled in his toddler bed with him and just laid beside him.  He always strokes my arms when I lay in his bed or he lays in mine.  He rubbed my back this morning.  I love that I can just lay with him and make him feel better.

It was in no way his birth mother's purpose in life or reason for her pain to make me a mother to a 5th child.  It just happened out of free will.  But, of this I am thankful to have him in my life forever.  He is so amazing and I love him more and more each day if that's possible.  I love everything about him and I love just laying there with him breathing on my face. 

He is always going to be my unexpected gift.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The fastest adoption from absolute start to absolute finish, in history

I honestly can't imagine that there is an international adoption that's gone any fast than ours has.  It's seriously wild to think about.  Literally, from the second we found out we were adopting (sibling referral call) all the way to Certificate of Citizenship (the absolute last thing you should get) was just under 1 year.

3/12/09 - Our surprise, shocking call that our daughter had a baby brother born just under 6 months earlier.
3/16/09 - Made the decision to proceed after much praying and financial planning.
3/17/09 - Finally found out his name and basic information.
3/24/09 - Mailed application to US agency.
3/29/09 - First home study visit.
4/06/09 - Official referral received and saw his picture.
4/13/09 - Rushed and got our acceptance completed and sent to Korea.
4/15/09 - Legals arrived in the US.
4/17/09 - Filing for I600 (immigration petition and fingerprinting).
4/20/09 - I600 approved.
4/27/09 - Approval arrived at the National Visa Center in the US.
4/29/09 - Approval sent by NVC to Korean embassy in Seoul.
5/07/09 - Visa info packet sent from Korean embassy to Korean agency.
5/22/09 - Travel call!!!
5/23/09 - The girls and I left for Korea with Lois (my friend from work).
5/28/09 - Received Jaemin in Seoul.
5/29/09 - Arrived back in the US and became an family of 7.
6/2009 - First post placement visit.
8/2009 - Second post placement visit.
10/2009 - Third post placement visit.
12/22/2009 - Finalized adoption in US county court.
01/2010 - Applied for Certificate of Citizenship
02/19/2010 - Certificate of Citizenship approved.

The certificate is, as of right now, on it's way to our house!!!  We are completely and ever lovin' done with paperwork!!!!!!  Wahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

We're calling it OFFICIAL!

Since, I accidentally caught J taking more than 2 steps on camera we're pronouncing this the day J first walked!  He took several steps towards C after he pulled himself up onto the couch!

Go J!!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sibling calls and the intricacies of

I've been "chatting" with a mom who received a sibling call a month or so ago.  It's amazing how much you truly do not understand until you've been in this situation.  This particular family was unable to accept.  I believe for financial, which I can truly appreciate.  She's been trying to find out if the baby's referred family will know the baby is a sibling to their child so they can have "some" sort of contact.  She said the agency (I don't know who) is not helping at all.  The agency only let the family have a week to make their decision, is acting like they're unable to help put them in touch with the other family, etc.  She's going to try to write a letter and forward it to the family through the agency, but is unsure it will do any good.

To me this is so terribly sad.  You truly get very little information with these calls.  They're very vague.  The fact that their agency couldn't give them a little more time is just wrong.  I've seen other family's have time to begin fundraising before giving a definitive answer on siblings.  The other problem she and I discussed is how the agencies don't seem to understand that it's just not as simple as a yes or no answer.  Money is an enormous factor.  It's very different purposely walking into an adoption process and having one sprung on you in a matter of a week and before you know it you're knee deep in papers again.  I truly wish their were grants for families like ours and these others.  I would like to start one, but don't have a clue where or how to begin.  I hate that other families are in this situation similar to ours and have to decline purely for this reason.

I mean how many people can suddenly with one week's thought decide to have another child?  In one week, the family has to consider the dynamics of their family, the money they will have to get through a loan to pay for the adoption, and simply adding a child in a VERY short amount of time that they had not planned.  I get the argument that it's the same as suddenly becoming pregnant...yes and no.  You do already feel this could be your child, but you did nothing to put out the possibility of having another child.  And in most cases you do NOT get 9 months to prepare.  We had 2 months!

I hope the agencies do more to support families during this time, if it approaches.  I was aware it could happen , but it's just different actually being there.  Thinking you know what you'd do and proceeding are two very distinct things.  Is it wrong to accept...NO.  Is it wrong to decline the referral....NO!  These families have to do what's best for them at the time.  The thing is, how do you know what's best for your family in 1 week!  I hope agencies realize they need to give families more time.  I don't think they're all this way, but I do think/know some are.  Can they try to support these families just a little more.  Realize the magnitude of the situation and feel for them as people?

I'm absolutely not speaking of our situation.  We had heard from other families the time period to decision is pretty short, but they really didn't give us a timeline.  We decided fairly quickly, within a week, but we were fortunate.  Not everyone's situation is as clear and easy to make that decision.  Our agencies were great.  While I would have liked to have worked more closely with our homestudy agency since we were familiar with them, etc., we didn't get the choice.  You are at the mercy of whichever Korean agency the birth mother places at and then whichever US agency the Korean agency releases them to.  It's not necessarily convenient.

So some of the reasons we chose to accept instead of decline; we tried to put money aside first, so we would not get stuck on that.  That either is or isn't.  Did we feel ready and could we do everything else for this little man?  We first went to Brian's mom since she provides daycare to make sure she had room in daycare for him.  That was one thing we felt strongly about so he would have an easier transition by being with his sister and around a caregiver he would see at other times other than daycare days.  After that was taken care of we had spoke with each other already, but then we talked to all the parents (grandparents) to get their input.  We eventually realized they weren't for or against it.  They were for whatever we could make work.  But, we did feel some reluctance in all of their attitudes and voices.  But, we realized that was probably for fear for us.  They knew this was big.  We finally gave a small version of the story to the kids because unless they were for it we would not pursue.  We did not want them to feel slighted in anyway.  Last, I needed to talk to someone who was not a close friend or family member.  I needed someone slightly removed to help me think about it.  I spoke to our priest and he was wonderful.  I talked to him about my fears and concerns.  He told me some stories and talked to me for a bit and then I left after we decided to watch for God's signs for the most important concerns/fears I had.  Brian and I discussed the money part and decided we did not have enough, nor did we have the option of a personal loan again.  A couple of days, after the weekend was over, I had thought of an idea about how we could make our home loan work for us by refinancing for a lower rate and we were given a small gift.  Refinancing worked out perfectly.  It was exactly what we needed to feel "safe" with it.  That and another concern were relieved and we were ready.  We felt we were being led very directly and must proceed.

Other families do not get this choice.  They don't get the answers they're looking for.  Things don't fall into place and they don't feel at peace immediately when they have to say no.  They anguish.  We anguished.  It an enormous decision.  I woke up the very first night we found out about J to go to the bathroom and thought "oh this didn't really happen" and then I realized it did and I just felt sick.  It's that big of a decision.  I didn't feel sick because I didn't want him.  I felt sick because I was so unsure what to do and did want him and was afraid we'd have to say no.  I cried a lot.  We talked so much those days. We talked about what happens if we do and what happens if we don't.  In the end, Korea wasn't sure if J would even be adopted into the US, but may remain for adoption in Korea.  That worried us that he would never be told he has a sister and they would never ever know each other.  Then we realized that our biggest regrets in life would be not having him here with us.  We would never regret having him in our lives.  That, in the end, won over everything.

So, if you're reading this and thinking you would absolutely say yes, no matter what.  Great.  But, you may find your answer surprising.  It's fine what anyone's personal decision is on this as long as we remember it's to each their own.  You cannot condemn or think low of someone who cannot accept and is not in that lucky situation.  And I do pray that those who cannot are not in this situation.  It's hard enough if you can, in the end.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Complete family/Life Happiness?

When does life stop surprising you?  In my mid 30s and 5 kids you would think certain things would no longer surprise me.  I don't know what I expected with J.  Did I expect because we didn't plan for him and he was so unexpected I wouldn't love him the same?  I don't think so.  I don't think I really even thought about it one way or another or had any expectations for my feelings.  It just seems that everyday that goes by I feel more love and such intense love for Jaemin and it surprises me a bit.  I'm not really sure why except that it's just so intense in the connection and that connection feels so special with my little man.

I could literally sit there and stare at him.  I'm in such awe at how precious he is and how gorgeous (I mean really gorgeous) he is.  I always said we were done after Chelsi.  I mean we had only planned for 2, maybe 3, kids.  I guess after Chelsi it just kind of felt like we "should" be done.  We had 4 kids and it was busy and it really isn't that "normal" to even have 4, let alone 5.  So we thought we were done and then J just shocked us all right into our lives.  And now I feel something I've never felt in our 15 years of marriage.  I feel VERY complete.   Truly complete.  This little man that we never intended to have closed the door and made my heart feel very full.  I'd always thought it was bs when people said they knew they were done and complete.  I can see if you just knew, from the start, what you were going to have from the start, but people like me that said so many and slowly exceeded that.  How did they really know they were every done?  Now I know and understand.  I think a part of me didn't really let go of the total idea of another.  I think a part of me knew there was still something missing.  But, logically, it just didn't make sense to want another child.

We thought we were done and in a non-purposeful way we left it to the Lord.  His birth mother was not put in this pain for my joy.  I don't believe that for a second.  She had another child, was unable to raise him, asked for him to be placed with his sibling and we were fortunate to be that family.  It was just human choice and circumstance that brought him into this world, but I believe at that point he was meant to be with us and his sister.  For this, I pray that his birth mother reads the letters we send, one day, and knows that he's with her as she wanted.  I hope this gives his birth mother peace as she deserves for her selfless gift.

After the loss of a friend and her son (whom we went through our first, her only, processes together), I'm trying very hard to not get so upset about such small things.  Settle down and look at the big picture. It's sometimes easier said than done, but for some reason the loss of these two people gave me that insight that I truly needed.  And on top of feeling complete with my sweetness in my life I'm trying to find my bliss in the simpleness of life and what the Lord intended and attempting to not get caught up in drama and little unimportant things that the Lord looks down on.

Thank you Liz and Seth for that.  I have faith you two are together as mommy and son and you will forever be guardingels to your husband/father.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh my boy Jaemin

He's truly a blessing.  A few months ago our lives were turned upside down and we were unsure if we were ready to have another baby in the house again.  Now, he's been home almost 3 months.  The first month was terribly hard.  He cried hard at bedtime and scratched and pinched and hit me every single night.  The naps we pretty much let him decide so he wouldn't have to go through that during the day too.  Every night we were up 3-6 times patting his back or giving him a bottle.  We needed to make sure he knew we were there no matter what.  We pulled him closer when he hit and stayed through the crying.  Don't get me wrong, there were moments of hesitation when you think, what did we do.  I know I wondered if we were really up to this more than once.  Now that we're getting into our new routine it feels like a normal life again.  He's really making progress.  Attachment  is a process, so we're not there yet.  I think most adopted babies that are not newborns when adopted are not there by this point either.  They have to learn to trust an adult again.  They've been taken away from the other adults they've grown to trust, 1 or more times.

He doesn't just dive in and give us hugs or kisses to often yet, but I slowly see it coming now.  I can sit on the floor with him and he'll crawl over, now, and lay his head on my leg and pat me. He doesn't gaze at me while I feed him a bottle, which worried me a bit at first, but when I take him to his room and rock him to sleep each night we can just stare at each other.  He smiles behind his paci and sometimes he smiles so big it drops out.  He's so sweet at bedtime.  He's not his usual, 100 mile an hour self then. He's my baby boy that I love more than anything in this world.

Blessings come in so many different packages, situations and experiences.  He is definitely one of my many blessings in life.

Friday, June 5, 2009

All together now

I took pictures of them all the day Chelsi arrived, but was just so tired after we got home from Korea with Jaemin I didn't get around to it until yesterday.  Here are the 5 together.  So cute!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Coming Home Pics (Airport)

Thanks for taking photos Jane!  Jaemin got to meet daddy and his brothers.

Receiving Jaemin (Gotcha Day)

I'll have to post about that later....doing good to get this much done.  :)


Meeting Jaemin Pics

Chelsi's Foster Mother Visit

Kaelin's Foster Mother Visit

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Princesses Visit the Palace

We went to Deokunung Palace today.  It's a short walk from the hotel, we decided that was the one to see.  When we got there there were tons of people around.  They were there with signs and crying, mourning their former President who's funeral is tomorrow.  We do know it's at one of the palaces, but we're not sure if it's the one we visited or not.  We checked with the front desk about what time to leave for the airport due to the funeral and they said we'll make it there in plenty of time.

Right outside the palace a man who looked like he'd had a pretty hard life stopped us.  He gave the girls 1000 Won each.  He kept touching his mouth, so I assume it was for us to buy them some candy.  He just insisted they take it.  We visited the palace and it was truly beautiful.  The architecture in there is amazing and the artistry....  When we were on our way back to the hotel we stopped at a bakery to get some food.  They had Hello Kitty stickers by the register and Kaelin must have been eying them because the lady gave her one.  I tried to pay for one for Chelsi too, but she just gave me the stickers and gave me my money back.  The girls LOVE Hello Kitty.  At breakfast this morning a Korean couple stopped us to talk.  She is the director of the Korean Nursing Program at a university in PA.  She and her husband are apprently very active with the adoption groups in their area.  They were talking to us to make sure we were doing something similar in our area...the best we can.  They gave me their room number and insisted if we had any needs at all we should come see them.  They were both very nice!

We're leaving to get Jaemin in about 2 hours, so this is probably it until getting home.  See you all later and love you!


Presidential Mourners

This water clock is a Korean treasure.

Heungcheonsa Bell is also a Korean treasure.

Singijeon Launcher Carrier is a weapon used many years ago.

The girls in front of the throne hall.

View of the throne hall.

Inside the throne hall.

Neat looking tree on the palace grounds.

Steps leading to the throne hall.

Various pictures throughout the grounds.

King Gojong's modern palace.

Fountains at night

We just, last night, noticed there is a fountain under the overpass next to our hotel, that apparently only comes on at night.  But, it goes through several colors as it splashes up and is very pretty!  The streets were crazy late last night and today.  Tons of traffic and honking.  I think it's all due to the funeral of the former President tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today's activities...

We were so busy today.  We left the hotel fairly early afraid we wouldn't figure out how to get from the hotel to Holt using the subway.  We figured it out a lot quicker than we thought and made it there 1 1/2 hours early...ooops!  So, we asked if we could go to the Reception Center to hold the babies there.  She gave us directions and let us go.  We found it pretty easily too.  They were so sweet!  There were five in each room.  There were the ones that were about 5 months and up and the ones under in another room.  One little girl in the big baby room smiled and smiled.  There was a little guy with downs syndrome that really liked to move...kinda dancing.  I held a little boy that was just huge!  We moved to the little babies room and held them too.  Though there was one little one still in an isolate that was just days old.  She was very sweet.  One baby slept the whole time.  I picked up the little girl closest to me, who was about 4 months old.  I was going to put her down to pick up the little guy Lois had because she swore he wanted me and she got really mad.  As soon as I picked her back up she was fine.  She just melted into you and sat there.  We said goodbye to all the babies and the sweet workers in the rooms after almost an hour and walked back for our meeting with Chelsi's foster mother. 

Chelsi's foster mother was so happy to see her.  She told us the things she remembered about Chelsi.  Apparently Chelsi cried a lot.  I can't even imagine that.  She really doesn't cry that often now.  She remembered how chubby she was...that's very true!  She said recently she was the only girl she'd ever had in 6 years and 12 babies.  Chelsi's only the 2nd to come back to see her so far.  We gave her the gifts we put together and she gave us some things.  I got a little Korean fan and the girls got hair stuff....which Kaelin grabbed very quickly.  We also got some ginseng tea, so Brian will try that out.  We took lots of pictures and talked for awhile then headed out to catch the subway to SWS.  The foster mother did say she would try to email again.  She'd tried off of the email I put in some old letters, but she said it didn't work. 

We figured out way to SWS from Holt pretty quickly too.  We got a lot of stares on that long ride.  Couldn't tell what they were thinking though.  We found SWS.  Walking from the station to SWS was a little harder to find than Holt, but we did find it.  We were a little early there too.  The subways are very fast!  We gave our gifts to the director and also delivered a gift from another SWS family to the director for the birthmother and fostermother of a child.  We then got a taxi with our case worker and went to the foster mother's house.  She came to find us and we went up to their place.  We went in and took our shoes off to sit and play.  We had an hour.  First, we got to just play with Jaemin alone because the case worker was asking the foster mother questions about his habits so she can type it up for us.  Then we all just kind of talked a bit and exchanged gifts.  We got his hanbok, a Korean/English baby's first bible kind of book (so cute) and a huge photo album of pictures.  The foster mother said Jaemin knows what particular clothes they wear to go outside and gets so excited because he loves to go out.  He also loves the water and having his feet played with.  We ate ice cream later.  Jaemin has the sweetest laugh.  He thought Lois, Kaelin and Chelsi playing ball was hilarious.  He smiled a lot!  He didn't look for his foster mother as much as I thought he would, while I held him.  I truly expected him to cry when I picked him up, but not one bit.  He kissed me a lot.  That sweet open mouth baby kiss!  He held onto my shoulder and if I sat him a bit in front of me he turned and reached back.  Melt my heart!  I pray Thursday and Friday go as well when he leaves his foster mother behind completely.  BTW, he's HUGE!  He's a big, solid boy!  And he can crawl fast!  She says he's pulling up too, so we're going to be very busy.  Lois doesn't think the clothes I have will fit.  :)  It was hard to say goodbye, but we'll be back soon and have him for the night.  I'll post pictures of all of this at a later date when I decide which pictures are safest to post and Brian sees his pictures first.

Now, for the funniest part of the day.  When we were on our way back from the Reception Center to Holt agency, we had to cross the street.  The arrows were going down so we were running out of time.  I was carrying Chelsi and Lois was running across with Kaelin.  She had these heelish shoes on and apparently looked back for Chelsi and I and all I saw was her sailing to the ground and she took Kaelin with her.  Just short of the curb, but still in front of a car.  We grabbed the stuff they dropped and went on and Kaelin barely had a scrape on her leg, but Lois cut herself.  We've been laughing about it all day because when Lois fell all I could see was Kaelin flying to the ground and when she landed her arms and legs were spread out as she laid there on the ground.  It really was pretty funny, so we've been giving Lois a hard time the rest of the day.

Anyways, going for the night and no pics tonight.  Tomorrow all we have is to go to Eastern to meet Kaelin's foster mother.  We'll sight see a little more Thursday morning and then go get Jaemin at 4:00 pm.  Friday we should get to leave.

Can't wait to return with him.  Keep us in your prayers.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Old and New

We went to exchange some more money today, so we had to wait for the bank to open to leave.  Our hotel has a free breakfast and it was REALLY good!  There's so much food to pick from that none of us had a problem finding enough to eat.  We hailed our first taxi and went to Seoul Station to see Lotte Mart....not what I thought it was.  It's more of a Walmart, but the girls found a couple of things anyways.  Then there's the Galleria.  Really nice stuff...but pretty much American.  We at lunch at Seoul Station too...yep, I let the girls eat ice cream at Baskin Robbins for lunch.  We then took a taxi to Namdaemun Market.  It's so big...overwhelmingly big.  There are people in open air selling things as well as some stores in buildings.  We were there for at least 2 hours and didn't even scratch the surface of that place.  I hope to go back because I never did get the picture of South Gate like I'd wanted, but I finally found it on the map this morning.  It's fairly difficult to tell drivers where you want to go, so for the most part I brought sticky notes and we've written each place down on a sticky note and the hotel wrote it in Korean for us.  But, yesterday I lost the one returning us to the hotel.  :)  Luckily, I found a couple of things in my backpack that helped the driver find our way back.  Lois had to tell him we were there though.  I think he was a little frazzled.

The roads in Seoul are crazy!  They drive extremely close to one another.  As in so close, sometimes they have to take turns moving or they'll take a side view mirror off.  They don't mind just whipping over into a parking spot on the street to let you out either.  Even if it means majorly cutting someone off.  I've also never seen so many buses in my life.  There is no lack of public transportation here.  Lois and I noticed that people REALLY dress nice for work here.  Beautiful silk suits on men and very few men have dress clothes on without it being a suit.  Women wear heals with everything...even jean shorts.  And you cannot get Korean food until 5 or later and walking in at 5 kind of seems to disturb them.  Door are open to places, but you can't come in and they definitely make sure you know it.  But, we ate Korean, regardless last night and it was very good!  The bulgogi was the same as at our local restaurant except we found out we had to cook it ourselves.  The side dishes were a WHOLE lot hotter than in the US at restaurants.  Kaelin thoroughly enjoyed everything though and I even got Chelsi to taste the bulgogi for a twizzler.  :)

At the market we did manage to find Chase the pair of socks he wanted...Cole now has some too.  The girls got their new hanboks and they're very gorgeous!  I did have to bargain for those.  They were way out of my price range since I was buying two.  I got her to come down 20,000 won though and was happy.  Kaelin got a fan she'd been looking for and a Korean rag for each girl.  They each got little purses too.  We got Jaemin a Reds rag and shirt.  The man put it on Chelsi right away though.  I don't think he understood when I kept telling him we were looking for one for a boy.  Let me tell you, looking for the Reds (soccer team) rag and shirt was difficult.  I finally found a shirt and showed them the girls' rags and finally found someone who understood what I was trying to say.  I was happy!  We got a set of Wedding Ducks for each of the kids too.

If I get to go South Gate I'll go back to the market and look around that side as well.  It's 10 acres (consisting of different levels).  I don't think you could ever see it all.  And the people?  Oh my gosh it's crowded and they do feel free to run you over.  :)

After the market we went to the Korean Folk Village.  There wasn't really anyone there, but it was still cook to check out.  No reenactments which would have been awesome!  It was neat to see the games from earlier in time as well as the old house and quarters where royalty stayed.

Here are pictures from yesterday and today we are taking the subway (wish us luck) for the first time and going to Holt to visit Chelsi's foster mother.  Then we go to SWS to get a ride to Jaemin's foster mother's home and see my baby for about an hour.  I'm still vigorously working out details to see Kaelin's foster mother at ESWS.  I pray that works out.  That would be the topping for Kaelin on this trip!


Folk Village

View of Seoul Tower from Folk Village

Heat for the ondol floors of the house.

Getting ready to find a taxi to go back for the day.

And, we're back from our trip.  Since Chelsi was sleeping on Lois while Kaelin and I bought the hanboks I had them try them on at the hotel.  Aren't they gorgeous!?