Friday, October 15, 2010

What a Day... What a FABULOUS Day!

First,  I sincerely apologize for not updating sooner. 

I remember when I would read blogs and see that the family 
was leaving to pick up their child an then... 


... nothing else would be written. 

I hated that

It was like missing the last 15 minutes of a show
where it's been building the entire time. 

The reason why I couldn't update sooner, 
was because we went to lunch with DJ and another staff worker. 

but I should really start at the beginning...

I woke up this morning at 4:30a. 
So I got up, skyped a bit and then we went got ready for the day.

Here's my first day of school with Charlie photo

Just after 8am we headed down to catch a cab. The ride was pretty uneventful and we got there just after 8:30a or so. But come to find, we were dropped off at the wrong location. We were at the Reception Center and not the 'main' Holt building. A super nice man who doesn't speak Korean came outside and ushered us in (I think he thought we were going to stay there because all of the donations were in Mary Leigh's big suitcase). While we were trying to explain that we were at the wrong place, we met a family who was staying there. And they had their sweet little boy with them who they had gotten on Wednesday. He was doing so well and they wanted to see DJ again so that she could tell their Foster Mom 'thank you' for helping his transition go so well (he was an 'older child') so they walked us over there. 

While we were approaching the building we could see some kind of crazy mayhem going out in front. Turns out they were having a Charity Bazaar to raise money. There were TONS of people buying up a TON of children's items (books, toys, etc). 

We met up with DJ, they said good-bye to her, and after a bit
 she escorted us back to the Reception Center so that we could me this little cutie:

That's Miss Zoe... the daughter of another friend who's on 
the adoption forums that I'm a part of.

After our visit there, we headed back so that Mary Leigh could meet up with Bates' Foster Mom and then I would be meeting Charlie. We told DJ that we really wanted to be able to take photos of the Holt Babies in case we 'knew' any of them. She said that she would point out who was a Holt Baby since there were so many kids there with their parents for the Bazaar. So every so often she would say, 'HOLT BABY!' and then we'd start snapping away. 

Once we got inside there were a ton of babies in there, so it was pretty crowded as we were walking through. We were headed towards the back by the Doctor's offices, when DJ pointed out two Holt Babies. 

Here's one of the kids I snapped a couple of pictures of.

I looked at the little boy and I said, 

I think I know that Holt baby...
that kind of looks like MY Holt baby...
wait... that IS my HOLT BABY!

and then of course I started crying. 

I was quickly ushered on as it wasn't 'my time' yet and so 
we headed up stairs.

Mary Leigh was able to chat with her Foster Mom and it was really neat to experience that from this end. It was great to see that Foster Moms DO indeed remember these children and they are so happy to hear updates and see pictures.  

Of course while I'm watching, I'm also anticipating 'my turn'. 

... and then Charlie's Foster Mom just walks in the room with Charlie.

It's such a surreal moment... but very anti-climactic. 
I think we all have these 'ideas' about how its all going to go down when 
you meet your kid for the first time. But strangely, it never seems to happen 
how you think it should. 

I just stared at Charlie for a while. I didn't try to touch him or reach out to him because my first thought, is that I didn't want to cry and scare him. He was very observant, and very quiet. Just looked around at all of us and taking it all in.

Some of the things that were running through my head were:

he's way bigger than I thought
his hand are kind of 'stubby', but huge 
(well, as huge as they can be for being less than the 3rd percentile)
he's way bigger than I thought
he seems super laid back
there's a pacifier... I wonder if I need to buy 10 more
he's way bigger than I thought

Then our Foster Mom handed him to me.

This is our first picture together
(I think we both look a little bit nervous)

DJ then asked if I had any questions.
I had this fabulous list of questions, but I couldn't get them to print
so I had to go straight from memory.
And Mary Leigh took notes
(that was pretty awesome of her)

During the 'question' period, I found out quite a bit about Charlie.

Here are some of the highlights:

Very laid back, hardly ever cries
He goes to bed easy - just turn off the light
Takes multiple short naps during the day
Loves to be held/cuddled
Started walking a few days ago
He's a great eater. Eats everything.
Still takes Nutramigen 3xs a day
(but he doesn't like it - can't blame him)
He eats yogurt

okay now... hold up
I asked to clarify what kind of yogurt and I was told that its just yogurt - like yoplait.
For those of you who don't know why this is important, it's because the entire
reason Charlie is on Nutramigen is because he can't digest milk proteins.

but he can eat yogurt.

I'm thinking that we can pretty much kick that Nutramigen can to the curb!
(this will be, of course, after he's seen by our doctor)

The rest of the meeting goes pretty well. I cry periodically, but nothing too bad.

and then our Foster Mom says good-bye to Charlie
... and starts to cry ...

I sat there, and my eyes just burned with tears.
They were having their own private conversation in this beautiful
melodic language, yet I knew the words were spoke with a touch of sadness.
She would gently kiss him, and then I would hear sarang hae (I love you)
whispered over and over.

I thought about how this woman was known for being one of the best Foster Moms
with Holt. She only takes the tough babies. The ones that are difficult. The ones 
like my Charlie. It was no secret that Charlie was hard for her. She had to take him 
to the Emergency Room numerous times. He went through surgery after surgery.
And to top it off, he drank stinky formula and had a temporary colostomy bag. 

he's not your average foster baby.

But yet she still loved him, and she still took incredible care of him, 
and she was still sad to see him go. 

And as all of these thoughts swirled in my brain, another realization came to me.
My tears had turned into full blown crying, and I knew I was starting to lose it.

It was like the lump in my throat had turned into a boulder and it was
suffocating me. The tightness in my chest that was holding back my emotions
was starting to reach its capacity as this feeling continued to expand.

and then it hit me. 

I was about to UGLY cry.

Take it from me. I'm not a cute cryer. I'm not like those girls in my kdramas 
who take the back of their perfectly manicured hands and gently dab away the tears.

No. My face gets distorted, my eyes swell shut, and I make those 
loud, drawn out sobs that sound 3 octaves lower than your normal speaking voice.

So of course I begin to panic. 

I mean, I CAN'T ugly cry in front of my Foster Mom and DJ.
They're going to think I belong in the looney bin or something, and again,
what if I totally freak out Charlie?! 

My  mind starts racing as to what I can possibly do to fix this emergency situation.

I decide the best thing to do is just be honest - and expose how I feel. 

So I turn to Mary Leigh - who is also crying at this point too - and I say, 

'Oh my gosh, I'm totally going to ugly cry'

but instead it sounds more like

'Oh my gosh..... hooooooonk'

yeah... I honked and spoke at the same time. Kinda awkward.
But the great things is that we both ended up laughing REALLY hard. 
I think DJ and my Foster Mom though it was weird. 

Here's the 3 of us. 

Heineken Jeans.
that's how my kid rolls!

Kinda random, but this girl works at the the women's home
that Charlie's Mom went to. She's actually met his Mom.
I also found out that she came and saw Charlie in March and even held him.

I hope that her life is full of peace and contentment. I hope that she
is able to move forward and have a life full of love and joy.

And I hope she knows that we'll never forget her. 
I told the staff worker that I would be sending a letter and photos
for his birth mom... I hope she can pass that information on to her.

So our meeting came to a close, and guess what. 
Charlie was just as chill as he could be. 
DJ and had made lunch reservations for us and had even 
booked a 'private room' in case Charlie was sad. 
But he did GREAT!
He did get sad once.. and probably let out a couple of cries, 
but then DJ and the other staff member took him and fed him his lunch
and he was just happy as could be. 

By the way. That pacifier is just for looks apparently.
Foster Mom told me that he doesn't use or  suck his thumb.
She brought it for the flight.

One of the first smiles I EVER saw from him. 
He never smiled in any of his pictures
and not for a good while after meeting him.

He loves to stick out his tongue.

Of course I changed his clothes when we got back to the Hotel.
Here he is walking to me. 

So far things have gone amazingly well. 

But we still have the night ahead of us.

He woke up from his nap and is just playing next to me with some toys 
and eating puffs. I gotta keep my eye on him though...
EVERYTHING goes in his mouth. 

oh yeah, that's right.
Foster Mom still has a scar on her finger from where he bit her.

and apparently he ripped the wall paper off of her walls. 


Thank you so much to all of you who have supported me during this process. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate it. Your prayers have been felt and I needed them SO MUCH. 

We still have a full day tomorrow and then we leave on Sunday. 

Can't wait to take Charlie out and about tomorrow. 
It should be super fun. 

And now I need to go wake up Mary Leigh so we can get some dinner.


Karen said...

I have so much to say ... But will start with PRAISE GOD! He is awesome, and I am so happy for you. Tears of joy as I read this on my phone ... Still in bed. ;o) couldn't wait to get to the computer. What a beautiful post. You look fabulous, and Charlie is soooooo adorable. Congratulations!

MandK said...

Awesome news to wake up to! Congratulations. I am glad things are going well so far. Can't wait to see more. Congrats Momma!

Laurie said...

Wow. I laughed, I cried...
I'm super happy for you and Charlie as you begin your lives together. He is JUST ADORABLE!

Kmoana said...

I am laughing and crying at the same time, reading and re-reading this over and over. I am so overwhelmed with are amazing, beautiful, Charlie is so adorable I can't stand it...and his tongue thing, exactly like Bellamy. I am worried for your wallpaper but I am going to sleep tonight knowing that all is exactly as it should be...Rachel got our Charlie. Love, hugs & kisses and many many blessings.

Kmoana said...

p.s hooooooooonk :)

lizvedvik said...

My first thoughts are WOW!! This post has made me both cry and laugh. I feel the rollercoaster you are on and hope you are enjoying the ride!! Charlie is gorgeous and I hope he continues to ajust well. For the record, youre looking great in every picture you have posted! No red rear stained face - udo not look like youve cried at all!! Enjoy you boy and your last days in Seoul.

Elizabeth and Dan said...

YEA!!!!! I am glad that meeting Charlie and Foster Mom went well! That Charlie is WAY cute! I love the tongue thing. Have fun today exploring with Charlie. May he stay his laid back, mellow self all the way to Cali. =)

April said...

I couldn't wait to read this post this morning. I actually woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep! And it was SO worth it! Thank you so much for the detail of the day and your emotions. I am so happy for you and Charlie is such a little hunk! ;) Enjoy the rest of your trip and I will definitely continue to pray for you and your little man.

KJ said...

I am super happy for you and Charlie! What a beautifully written account of how you met---You are super funny, witty, and just outright adorable!!!

I cried when you described the private moments between the foster mother and Charlie---I could see it playing out in my mind. So vividly described.

You're a fantastic writer, if I might add.....

Have a wonderful day on Sat and best of luck as you come back to the States.

Take care,

Robin said...

CONGRATULATIONS! You look so happy in the photos...just beaming! Charlie is simply adorable! Thank you for letting us share your journey to Charlie. I have loved following along.

Kelly said...

Totally crying.

Beautiful boy.


scatterbrainliz said...

Happy to hear everything went well with the transition from foster mom to you. Charlie is really cute! I hope you, Charlie, & ML have fun exploring the city! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures. Congratulations!

The Smiths said...


Kim said...

Totally have the ugly cry goin' on here after reading your post!!! Hoooonnnnkk!!!

What an amazing experience you have shared so well and I am so happy that the two of you are together now...

Love ya girl!! Enjoy your baby!

Lindsay said...

I almost did the ugly cry while reading this! I am so happy for you. He is precious and it is amazing to finally see you with him. I mean it when I say, that is one cute kid! He is the sweetest boy and I wish for you nothing but happiness as you begin your journey as a family of 4. I can't wait to meet him! Sounds like he and Ashlyn could get into a lot of trouble together! :) Congrats to the Lesiw family!

Jessica said...

OH Girl! I love how you write. You had me laughing and crying. My girls loved the "I'm going to hooonk..." line. I UGLY cry, too. And, you should have seen me when Nathan's Foster Mom and Dad were saying goodbye....Your Charlie is a cutie. Next time I'm home, we're going to have to meet for lunch. Take care, of yourself and your new little man.

crazy coopers said...

i am ugly crying right now!! love u and thank u for sharing, we can NOT wait to meet him.

4dogs said...

I read your post before I got ready to go to made me cry too (and laugh!). Charlie is such a cutie! Congratulations! Can't wait to hear more about your journey! Congratulations to you!

ksmiles11 said...

Awesome Rach. God is Good. Love you guys. PS...the pacifier for the plane is a good option or eating / sucking on a bottle in general on take offs and hurts there ears so much :(

Lacey B. said...

Ok Rach you made me cry and laugh reading about the ugly cry! Charlie is so lucky to have such a funny mom. He is soooo cute! I can't wait to hear more. =)

Anonymous said...

So happy you finally have your sweet little boy and that things are going well so far. :)

Leah said...

OMG! He is just the cutest! Love your blog! So glad to know what happened! Like you said, it's so nice to invade your privacy meeting. We all want to know what happened! Hugs to you 3 and congrats on that sweet little boy!

M, A, C and K too! said...

Rachel- CONGRATS!!! I love the way you write! You have such a funny sense of humor and that is evident in everything- even the sentimental stuff!
Happy, emotional tears here for you! Charlie sure is adorable!


Cindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy said...

How wonderful and what a blessing. He is so handsome! Congrats!

crazy coopers said...

this is like crack I need another update. How is today going??? I was totally off on the time so I kept checking all day, but you were sleeping so I was wasting my time :)

Jenny said...

oh my goodness.... what a wonderful post. i'm an ugly crier too and would've been right there with you. thank you for making me laugh, cry and praise God for the beauty of adoption. your charlie is so adorable and i am so happy for you!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful day for you AND Charlie! I'm also glad you actually did the ugly cry, I am queen of the ugly cry. You will love that you have kept your thoughts and events in your blog, you may want to put a portion of it into Charlie's lifebook. I used the Blurb process and it 'slurped' my posts into an actual book!
You look great as Charlie's mommy. Charlie is so cute, I'm sure you want to hug him constantly! All the best for the remainder of your trip. It's kinda funny, the President of Holt Korea is actually here in Portland, Oregon and I just had dinner with him and Director Lee. They will be attending the Holt Dinner and Gala with all of us tomorrow.
Safe travels!!

Jill said...

CONGRATULATIONS! I am SO happy for you! Your post was absolutely beautiful - it had me in tears and laughing at the same time - the UGLY cry, I'm an ugly crier, too! I always wonder how they look so pretty in the Kdramas while they're crying their eyes out! You look amazing and Charlie is such a cutie! Have a WONDERFUL rest of your trip!

Sunshine said...

I love your post so much. It brought back so many memories, of how a moment can be anticlimactic and yet, so big all at once. I ugly cried reading this, I will admit. Thank you for sharing this with us...I love your writing and hope it doesn't end. xoxo, SoCaliGirl.

andy and meg said...

Rachel, I'm crying, I'm laughing, then I'm crying again. Andy and I read this post together and hung on your every word. We appreciate your transparency and will remember this post forever. THanks for sharing, and thank you for bringing Charlie into the family.

We love him so much, and his smile is so sweet. We will pray for you, and also for his foster mom, who sounds pretty incredible. Come home quick, Charlie! You have a lot of people to snuggle with!!!

JimandJackie said...

From one ugly crier to's the only way to go when faced with that much EMOTION, happy, sad, utterly terriried! You look amazing and Charlie is So handsome!

Kimberly and Ed said...

I was "ugly crying" reading this post! I am so happy for you Rachel! Congratulations!!!

innotof said...

Oh, man, he is A-dorable!!!

I laughed so hard at your ugly cry description I have tears rolling down my face!! :)

Jennifer said...

I was guided to your blog from the Holt Forum. I'm also an adoptee from Korea (1976) who is adopting from Korea. Your children are precious! :) I really loved reading about your travels! We are fairly early in the process...but are looking forward to the day when we too will travel.

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