Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Two Years a Family of 3

I remember so vividly that moment when I was walking down the exit terminal on May 5th, 2012, and my eyes found Michael's. I wanted to run into his arms, honestly, because of the emotional rollercoaster that had ensued the previous several hours with flight delays, an extra overnight trip in San Francisco, a seizure on our departure day from Korea (complete with an ambulance ride and experience in an ER in Korea). But, I was also overwhelmed by the moment when Michael first met our son and we were all together, a family of 3. The several weeks that followed were HARD. As Taylor grieved the loss of a wonderful foster family, he began bonding with us and learning to trust us as his parents. I remember, when we were home about 3-4 weeks, when I felt like it just clicked. It did not become magically easier, but something happened that made me believe that this amazing little guy was finally starting to understand and trust that we were his mom and dad. We were looking at photo albums on the dining area of our apartment (let's just be honest, he was pulling books off of the shelves) and ended up pulling out our wedding album.

Let me back up...when I met Taylor's foster family while in Korea, they told me that they were referring to us as mommy and daddy, so, naturally, we called ourselves mommy and daddy as we were trying to teach him who we were. We also thought it would help him differentiate between us and his foster family during talks with him. Okay, back to the story...

I began finding pictures of us in the wedding album and pointing to them, asking, "Who is this?" As I pointed to one picture of myself, Taylor looked at me and said, "Umma." I pointed to a picture of Michael, and Taylor responded, "Appa." I could tell by the satisfied look on his face and the deep intent in his expression that he GOT it. He did not understand what all of this mommy/daddy business was about, but he knew what an umma/appa were and knew that we were his. I melted. "Yes, buddy, we are forever your Umma and Appa." I am not sure when/if he will ever begin to refer to us as mom/dad (he knows what this means now and understands we are his mom and dad), but I fondly remember the moment he knew he was ours and we were his, a family forever.

Isn't this what happens when our heavenly Father adopts us? There is no worrying about being placed in another family or being un-adopted if we do not follow all of the rules. He loves us, as His children, unconditionally and eternally. I am so grateful that God gave us the opportunity to see a glimpse of His love for us. As I am overwhelmed with love for this sweet 4 year old, I sense Abba whispering to me, "This is how I love you, and so much more than this. Trust me constantly with your heart and life." Taylor Won Murry, you are such as abundant blessing to us, and we are delighted always to be your Appa and Umma!

In celebration of the day, I wanted to share a video of one of our skypes with Michael while in Korea. Thanks for following!

And, I promise, I will give a Daniel update soon!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy Gotcha Day, Taylor Won!

A year ago today...
 This is what I saw when I first walked into the restaurant where we were meeting Taylor Won and the foster family for the first time.

 He missed his nap that day and fell asleep being rocked on his foster umma's back as she did often to put him to sleep or soothe him. His foster appa held him at the table after he had fallen asleep...one of the sweetest pictures we have from the trip. No question as to whether he was loved while in Korea...absolutely, he was.

Below is a picture of the first time I was able to really touch him without him becoming upset. I remember thinking, "It's really him. The one we have prayed for and loved and waited to hold. Our sweet baby boy."

The pictures that are missing from this post are the ones filled with tears and brokenhearted goodbyes, but the memories are forever in my mind and heart and I thank God for the love my child received while cared for by his sweet foster family. They will always be a precious part of his story that I plan to share with him over and over again to honor them and to show Taylor how he was loved from the beginning.
The hard part had begun. Taylor sobbed for the whole ride back to the hotel in the cab and was inconsolable once we got into the hotel lobby. So, my sweet and selfless friend, Brooke (who I owe a million more thank-you's to), brought our stuff up to the hotel room while I got the carrier. We snapped him in it and just started walking down the streets of Seoul. My heart was broken, and I felt helpless. I knew this grieving was part of the healing process and was a very good sign, but it was SO HARD to witness. This is when I first sang him the song, "God is So Good," as we were walking down the street with him in the carrier with my arms wrapped tightly around him. We had sent him a video a couple months before travel so that he could get used to our voices, see what we looked like, etc. I added a part at the end of the video where I sang "God is So Good" while filming his room that we had set up for him (his toys, bed, etc.). I almost did not keep it in the video because, well let's face it, singing is not a talent of mine, but I kept it in there because I knew (bless his heart) that I would likely find myself singing to him once he was with us. And, I am so glad I did. That is the only thing that soothed him for those first several days:
God is so good,
God is so good,
God is so good,
He's so good to me.
He loves Taylor Won so,
He loves Taylor Won so,
He loves Taylor Won so,
He's so good to me.
He answers prayers,
He answers prayers,
He answers prayers,
He's so good to me.
And he finally relaxed and fell asleep...

When he woke up from that first nap, I expected him to get upset again, but he just sat quietly in my lap and pulled stickers from the Thomas the Train activity book I had brought and stuck them on this pants and the pages of the book.

Then we walked and walked some more, knowing the visible grieving would come again (and it did, a good bit over that next few weeks, mostly at night), but he was much easier for me to soothe after those first couple of hours. I know that God prepared his little heart because he seemed to know I was his umma and that I was his "safe place"...he began attaching.

He was pretty stoic throughout the whole first day, and then, all of a sudden when we were eating dinner in the hotel restaurant, this scared little guy started to smile...and not just smile, but laugh and throw his head back in excitement as I swung him around. He started to climb...

And what do you do on your first day being a parent to this sweet boy who has just experienced what no two year old should have to experience in their short little life? You let em' climb, encourage it even, and ignore the stares :-)

And, caught on camera (again, thanks Brooke!), that first kiss!


After dinner, we watched the dvds that his foster mom sent of some of his favorite Korean cartoons/singalongs (complete with the "Three Bears" song, a Korean childhood favorite). DJ, our agency social worker in Korea, had called earlier in the day to get a report for the foster family because they were worried about him and wanted to be reassured that he was okay. They wanted pictures posted to the blog asap...thanks again, Brooke, for pictures added ;-) I also talked to Michael and filled him in on the day's events (with the highlights being "I have our son!" and "I am already sooo tired!").

I put a pair of his pajamas on him that his foster mom had sent (she sent several outfits for him so that he would have some familiar things)...his dinosaur pajamas that he stills wears, a little high-water these days. I wrapped up his "gotcha day" clothes and sealed them in a vacumn-tight ziplock bag to preserve the smell...one of the things recommended by the lady that created the Lifebook. Side note: We also bought a newspaper from that day so that Taylor can look at it one day and see what was going on in Korea during that time.

And, we snuggled in and watched the dvds until well into the night...

...when he finally drifted off to sleep.

The beginning of something GREAT!
One year later...

You constantly bring us joy and laughter, and we are so blessed that God brought us together to "make family!" 

 Happy Gotcha Day! Your Appa and Umma love you all around the world and back again!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We're Official!

Finalized the adoption today! Thank you Lord for blessing us with this amazing child and for showing us the most eternally wondrous picture of adoption through the cross. So blessed.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas

Santa's little helper...

Taylor tapping his "thinking finger" on his chin as he tries to decide where to put the next ornament.

Hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Telephone! It's for Taylor!

Seoul South Korea