Thursday, March 18, 2010

Korea II - Pins and Needles and the Truth

First, thank you all for your encouragement and your prayers. Just as I have the habit of always carrying a ponytail band in my pocket like a very small, very strange security blanket, I also rather like carrying you, especially when I up and travel half-way around the world. Except you certainly aren't strange and the comfort you lend makes far more sense than my ponytail band. At any rate, I'm honored that you hopped inside. Your kindness and your prayers have helped fuel this experience.

It is 6:30 a.m. here. The sky just transformed from grey to a hazy, peach-washed blue before my eyes. I'm missing Calvey-Patalvie and the Rubester.

I have put off writing about yesterday, because there's just so much inside and it's still trying to settle in. It's rearranging my internal furniture a bit. We're making room.

One thing I know for sure about adoption is to expect the unexpected. Each of our babies arrived in a way that we had not planned. For example, I was sunning myself on Pismo Beach in California with my sister, post-week-long business trip, when they called to say that Calvin would be arriving in Detroit in 3 days, the day after my return. The last leg of my flight home to IN from CA was canceled in Cincinnati, due to a severe thunderstorm, and I was left to cry my eyes out, rent a car, and hoof it, so to speak, back home. I arrived at 2 a.m. and we left for Detroit at 6. It was not, to say the least, how I expected things to go.

We spent yesterday morning on a fruitless search for a Korean sports jersey for one sports-obsessed little dude. In the process, we saw the Olympic Village and stadiums and ate another lunch in a restaurant where no one spoke our language. We must have walked at least 700 miles.

Post-lunch found me a ball of nerves. We made it back to our room and began getting ready for The Visit, which, come to find out, would take place in the Foster Mother's home. I was sure that she was not going to approve of my outfit, sure that she would hold my bad hair against me, sure that we would say/do/the exact wrong thing.

Our taxi pulled up to her apartment building and it really hit home that Silas has lived life so far as a little city slicker. It made me excited to think of the wide open spaces that await him and will become the home that he knows best. At the same time, I like seeing first-hand that my boys lived their early days in such sharp contrast to the life God ultimately chose for them. They will have experienced so much variety and it is up to us to make sure they know about it all. Who knows, maybe their concrete-roots will take hold more firmly than we can imagine and adulthood will find them on the congested streets of NYC, or even...Seoul.

Our social worker warned us on the drive over, in broken English, that Silas is very shy. He does not like new places or strangers. I appreciated the honesty, but my nerves were growing increasingly frazzled.

We walked up to the 5th floor and into the tiny apartment and there he was. He smiled at us and ran right back to his foster mama, where she scooped him up and he felt safe again.

Within minutes, he was showing off, babbling Korean gibberish, clowning around.

He danced and tottered around us, lifting his t-shirt to show his belly and all of the other tricks of the toddler trade. Then, he looked at me and held my gaze an extra beat, walked over to me, and plopped down on my lap.

The social worker audibly gasped, as did the foster mother. He sat on my lap off and on throughout the rest of the hour. He fed strawberries to Cory. We took some pictures, which I will be able to share when we return home, but we didn't take as many as we would have liked, because he was Obsessed - capital O - with Cory's camera. Oh, and it seems he's used to getting exactly what he wants, and will voice his protest at not getting what he wants with gusto. :)

Somewhere over the course of that hour, the social worker told us that the foster mother was worried that Silas would not sleep at all on Friday night. She thought he might cry all night long. I was confused by this, since we would not have him with us until Saturday, right?

Wrong. We will be picking Silas up today, around 3 pm. He will stay with us in our room tonight, where it is very likely that he will not sleep. He will be confused and scared and will desperately miss the only Mama he's ever really known.

I am not going to lie. I am nervous.

I had to fight major nerves and doubts yesterday evening. This is not going to be easy, not that we ever expected or hoped that it might be. We are adding a brand new little person into our family - one who still drinks bottles around the clock, does not like "eating", except for fermented soybean paste soup, and appears to have a stubborn streak to match his sister's.

If I let myself, I can get a little stomach-knotty over it all: the food stuff, the sleep stuff, the bonding stuff, the personality stuff.

But the truth remains - This is the child that God created for us. We are the parents God planned for him. There are no two ways about that. And what I know for sure is that God will not lead us where His grace will not carry us. Will there be difficult days (and nights) ahead? Absolutely. But Silas, for the first time in his little life, is about to have a family. And what a grace-filled miracle that his family is us.