Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Korea I - Half a World Away

It's the middle of the night here and I just woke from a nine hour "nap". It seems we're a little on the mixed-up side right now. Just tell me this - how's a girl supposed to sleep when she knows she'll be meeting her son in just 12 hours?

Looking out our window here at the guest house, it seems that most of the city decidedly does not have my problem. The city's eyes are shut tightly, save the lone man walking down the alleyway, the glow from his cigarette mirroring the orangey cast of the street lamps.

As expected, I find that I am unable to really grasp where I am right now. I find myself looking around, doing my best to take it all in, and thinking, over and over, "Calvin used to live here". In fact, he spent time in the very building in which we are staying. These are things that he and his brother will always share - these snapshots of their earliest beginnings.

I am amazed by the sheer foreignness of Seoul, though I'm sure that sounds silly. All I can say is, it is one thing to read about a country, to watch a documentary about a country; but it is an entirely different thing to walk amongst the people of a country; to ride the subway with them, to purchase their wares, to eat a meal prepared by them.

We are finding that most of the people we encounter here do not speak English. Yes, our Western self-importance had us thinking that many would have a basic, working understanding of our language. The truth is, I like it better this way. I like not having the option of taking the easy road. I like being in the position of acclimating, rather than assuming that those around us will acclimate to us.

I am thankful for the brief, pin-dot-small moments of awareness I have had that I am different here. I look different. I am obvious. In these moments, I have not felt less-than, or scrutinized, I have simply felt "other". It brings to life for me just a tinge of what my kids will very well feel as they live their everyday lives. Unaware as they are right now, I know they will grow increasingly world-wise and I know there will be times when they feel "other".

What I am feeling for my boys, right now, is immense pride in their heritage. Their people are lovely, humble, stylish, kind. I am newly amazed that God's plan for both of them required a trip across the ocean, a detachment from their culture, a forfeiting of their language, their blendability.

My kids, all three of them, have a story that I have never lived. Try as I may, I will never really know what that's like.

I am so proud of their bravery, so inspired by their trust, so honored by their willing hearts.

As I look again out our window, at rooftops frosted with snow and buildings NYC-tall, I want so badly to fold up all of these feelings, wrap them in a red ribbon, and pack them safely away for all of those conversations that are sure to happen in our house as the years go by. I don't want to miss a thing. I don't want to forget a single detail.

59 comments:

  1. Shannan,
    Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I have been thinking about you! I am really excited for you. I know what you mean about looking different, my husband and I moved to Japan just after getting married, he trained horses there. My oldest daughter was born in Japan. I love what you wrote! You are such an inspiration. Have a safe trip!
    Take Care,
    Maria

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  2. Oh lovely! I am praying for you and yours.

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  3. What a thoughtful heart you have. Your children are lucky - not just to have a new family but to have parents that honor these "different" things about them. Have a safe trip and blessings to you all!
    Sarah

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  4. Thank you so much for letting us know how you are doing. I too have been thinking about you and wondering how it is going. What a wonderful moment when you will first lay eyes on your son. Praying for his transition and your safe return. Blessings.

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  5. what an amazing experience. i am so excited for your family.

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  6. I have been praying for you and wondering how your trip was going. I haven't been to Korea, but I went to China for business & completely understand what you are experiencing right now. I'll keep praying & can't wait to hear about your newly blessed son!

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  7. Oh MY!

    This is so how I feel so many times a day. I love being part of something so much bigger than myself, don't you?

    I can just imagine you there. Helka and I were talking about you today at the coffee shop and how excited we are for you. We have never met...you live in the USA and we live in Poland and we are praying for you as you pick up your son in Korea. We are definitely living in a global community!

    Love to you and peace as you pick up your newest family member! YOu will be all he ever dreamed of...
    Hugs,
    Rhonda

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  8. Thank you for sharing this first part of your trip with us. You are such a lovely, lovely writer.

    Can't wait to hear about more of your trip and the newest spark in your family!!

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  9. How exciting! I prayed for you last night just as I was drifting off to sleep--or I should say, I was trying to pray for you--I was so fuzzy-headed that I couldn't remember your name, or your kids' names or anything! But I know that God knew my heart and that I was asking him to give you safely and a smooth transition time.

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  10. Saying prayers for you and your sweet baby boy. I can't wait to see his precious face :)

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  11. Praying for all your family right now... may God bless this part of your journey!

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  12. I am so excited for you! This is a wonderful opportunity that God has given both you, your husband and your children. It is also nice that you get to experience your son's heritage firsthand.

    Looking forward to pictures of your newest blessing!

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  13. I was thinking of your family this morning...so I am so thrilled to read about how you all are...I cannot wait for the post you will have when you are finally together:)

    I love how aware you are of everything around you and you just taking it in

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  14. you must be on the edge of your seat! I am so excited for you. I pray that you manage to get some good rst before meeting your little boy. God is so good. Can not wait to hear how it goes.
    Praying for you.

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  15. Shannan, I didn't remember that Calvin was from South Korea too. Working on my family history over the last couple of years has made me realize how closely related we all really are. South Korea is so tiny....your wee boys might be biologically related!

    God bless your growing family. What a beautiful day!!!!!

    : )

    Julie M.

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  16. Deep emotions run thru you..esp as a mother! Thank you for sharing your journey with us..This is truely touching on so many levels..Can'w wait to meet the new little man!~lulu

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  17. Thank you for sharing this journey. Your words express so much emotion. It is beautiful & strong. God bless you on this new journey & on the wonderful memories you are tucking away to tell your children as they grow.

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  18. You are doing just that. Document everything... I know I don't care. I love hearing your inner most thoughts written outloud. Thank you so much for allowing us to go on this journey with you. What an honor. I am so excited for this next chapter in your life!

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  19. I'm sure with the writing of your beautiful words you will never forget, and neither will we. You're so insightful, putting yourself in their shoes-if only we could all be more like that!

    I hope you are taking lots of pictures too-I'm so excited for you all.
    Love,
    Char

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  20. What a lovely moment you are having and sharing it with all of us, its just so touching. It will be beautiful the moment you see him and hold him, I'm so excited for you!

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  21. God sets us in families...isn't that a comforting thought! He planned your family for these children and vice versa!
    I am bubbling over with happiness for you!

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  22. You just had me tearing up at that post -- beautifully written. I'm so excited for your family!

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  23. What an exciting journey for you - I can understand why you are unable to sleep with anticipation. Good luck and best wishes as you meet the newest member of your family!

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  24. You write so beautifully, I feel like I'm right there holding your hand. What a happy time for you and your family, keep us posted!

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  25. Wow Shanny! So eloquently put. You are such an inspiration. I'm wondering if it feels strange to be saying "my boys". What lovely words. I can't wait to hear more. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for word of what you are experiencing.

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  26. I love this post as I love all your posts. I can't wait to "meet" little Silas and see how much your babies at home are going to love him.

    Smiles~ Michelle
    oh, are they wearing jeans?

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  27. Oh my goodness, this post is precious. I am so excited for you and your family! Your children are so blessed that God placed them in your loving care. I'm saying prayers for you all!:)

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  28. It seems like you are still down the road writing this - but you sooo aren't. I love hearing what you are experiencing. Praying for you guys.

    P.S. can't wait to see some of the pictures Cory takes :)

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  29. Shannon,

    I can feel the anticipation and the excitement and I'm reliving the "foreign" feeling from the days in China before Lily came us. Praying for rest for you and Cory and for the perfect transition for Silas.

    xoxo to you from across the world,
    Jody

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  30. With tears in my own eyes I'm eager for you to soak up all you can and wrap it in your own (red ribbon) of life to share with my nephews in the years to come.
    God had a plan, and this is it!
    Hugs,
    Auntie Keisha

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  31. I found your blog a few months ago through some craft project you did. I've had you on my rss ever since. And today I was surprised to see this! We've adopted a little boy from Korea too. What agency are you using? H

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  32. Your writing and expressions are like poetry. Seoul has been good for your soul. Silas is so blessed. God is good.

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  33. Wow...reading your post reminds me so much of our time in Chongqing, China 5 1/2 years ago, the night before we had Izzy in our arms. The anticipation moved through every inch of my being...I was soooo excited. Chongqing is highly populated, and I remember looking out our window and seeing layers upon layers of buildings and people, and new sites to absorb. It will forever be imprinted upon my heart.
    Can't wait to see your next post...hopefully with your little guy in your arms! Get some sleep...there are many more days ahead with him to hold.
    Julie

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  34. Thank you for sharing this glimpse with us. I have been wondering about how things are going.

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  35. Bless you, Shannan. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart.

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  36. I don't know you. I stalk your blog and enjoy your writing. This entry really touched me. May God bless your sweet family.

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  37. we have three,(so far), precious little ones that God placed in our hearts and lives. Each with their own story. I find myself praying and thinking of the brave women who made the very difficult decision to give them a chance for a wonderful life with you and Cory as their Mommy and Daddy. How they must have loved their babies and trusted God to make the decision they did. I will always keep them in my heart and pray for them.

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  38. Your little ones have such a beautiful package wrapped in red ribbon in your blog writings. I do hope you have blurbed your incredible writings into a book. I can't believe you are a world away. Finally there. In my native country in which I have never even been. We are all experiencing with you and can't wait to see your first pictures of sweet Silas. Safe travels my friend. What an amazing journey.

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  39. What a wonderful journey to be on! God Bless you during those first few precious days!! May you have safe travels and treasured moments! ;)

    Jenn

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  40. Thinking of you guys...right now!!! Just realizing that you are probably meeting your sweet Silas...right now!!!! Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!

    : )

    Julie M.

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  41. Just said a prayer for you! Live in every moment and He'll do all the work!

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  42. What a blessing to be able to read about your journey, while you're there. Your kids are lucky souls to have such an awe-inspiring mama.

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  43. What a wonderful thing that you and Cory can be there and see where both of your sons began their lives. What a wonderful bond they will have as brothers. Enjoy every moment. It seems that you are!

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  44. shannan....you paint such wonderful visual pictures with your words of what you are going through. i am so thankful you are sharing that. what an absolutely perfect journey God has taken you on for you and your baby to come together.

    so happy for you and your family. i will pray for strength (physical and emotional) for you over the days ahead.

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  45. Your writing gave me goosebumps, you have such a gift. I am so happy for you to be so close to your new baby. Thanks for sharing!
    Londen

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  46. Shannan,

    It was so exciting to get to work today and see that you had posted from Korea. Calvin and Ruby are praying for you guys every night and it so touches my heart to hear them pray for their new baby brother. I just know he is one lucky boy to be joining our family. My heart is overwhelmed. Hurry and bring my new grandson home! Be safe and we love you.

    Mom

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  47. I was so excited to see a post from you! I've been praying for you both as you make this journey. What a lovely writer and what a wonderful job expressing some deep emotions. Thank you for sharing this exciting time in your life.

    Praying safety and continued joy as you prepare to meet your son :) God's blessings!

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  48. I am on the edge of my seat waitingggggggg. Your children are so lucky to have you and your entire family. I wish you all the love in world. Be safe. Can't wait to see his beautiful face. <3 Donna

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  49. "I like being in the position of acclimating, rather than assuming that those around us will acclimate to us."

    nice work.

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  50. Oh, I love this. So sweet and honest. I'm praying for you guys!

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  51. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

    How wonderfully sweet~
    I'm ecxited and happy for you and your family!

    Just like labor....one anticipates the newest arival. Becomeing a mom again can be so full of emotions. Each "birth" story unique. Just how GOD wanted it to be!

    What a beautiful and JOYOUS time!

    Warmest Blessings,
    Georgiann

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  52. Wow
    Well put and thanks for sharing with us from your heart
    Your children are blessed to be "chosen" by you.
    Can't wait to hear more and see pictures

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  53. I am so excited for you I can hardly stand it! Thank you for sharing this experience with us, you are surely one of the bravest and open hearted people I know...you will be a wonderful mother to this new little being in your family! blessings Shannan~

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  54. As much as these beautiful babes are gifts to you, YOU are a treasured gift to them as well...
    My your journey be a delightful one from start to finish!
    annie

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  55. So excited to see your post! Have been thinking and praying for you these past days...today is a BIG ONE! May there be peace and joy and an ample bit of awe. Praising the Father of Adoption.

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  56. love this post... you're such a great writer:)
    can't wait to see little snaps of what you're seeing there.

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  57. I loved your post...filling us in on your journey so far and preparing for the meeting with your baby. Oh, my heart races at the very thought, as we experienced the same feelings, when we got our son... it's undescribable! We continue to pray for your little family!
    Love wasn't put in our heart just to stay.....
    Love isn't Love, 'till you give it away!!
    Marcele

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  58. I will say some prayers for you. I am an adopted Mom as well.....in a much different way. Thanks for sharing your emotional journey. Beautiful children!

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  59. So excited for you! I do hope you plan to write a book. Your words are so inspiring and so true of a mother of adopted children. I have a hard time expressing that part of me to people but you do it so well.

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