1 year ago today we walked into SWS and the only thing I could think was that I felt like I was going to throw up. I was so incredibly nervous and sad and of course a little excited too. I wanted my boy so much, but I knew how much this was going to hurt him initially and I dreaded that. I don't want to hurt my children, but the only way he could become our child was through that loss and pain. That right there is the hardest part of adoption.
We were greeted by our Social Worker, and soon after we saw DS and his foster family arrive. We were all ushered into a room (a different tiny room) where we sat on the floor and all awkwardly talked talked to DS because we didn't understand each other. The Social Worker joined us with some final paperwork which we did quickly. The Foster Family gave us some wonderful things, tons of pictures of DS, some clothes he had worn, his Hanbok from his first birthday, and, of course, Mong Mong. His beloved dog that is his immense comfort.
We thanked them and all sort of started to say good bye. We headed into the hallway, the foster family got DS ready to go. When it was time they asked us to step into the tiny (very very tiny) elevator with the Social Worker and then DS's Foster Mom handed him to me. It was hard. She had tears in her eyes and his Foster Father was obviously upset to say goodbye to DS. I got the feeling that the two of them were very close. The elevator doors shut with DS trying to reach out of them. He spent the elevator ride trying to push away from me, screaming for his Foster Family and my heart just shattered. I whispered "Kwen chan ah" which the SW and FM had told me to do. I patted his back and tried to comfort him. Nothing seemed to work but after a very long ride (and a stop on one floor where the woman saw that obviously she did not want to share an elevator with us) we stepped out into the construction zone on the 1st floor of SWS. DS was fascinated and stopped crying until we got outside. Once outside I wanted to get him in the carrier, but we knew that there was a chance the Foster parents would be out soon and we wanted to get out of sight before that happened. We hurried down the street, then got Daniel into the carrier once we rounded the corner. We walked back to the hotel like that and once we got to the main street he stopped crying again because he was looking at all of the cars and trucks going by.
The hotel room was his least favorite place. Maybe it felt too home-like? Maybe it felt confining? Maybe it made this seem too permanent? Not sure, but he hated it at first! So out we went to walk around with him. The entire time in Seoul he wanted to be carried! He would get down for a few minutes here or there - in the hotel room or to play on some stairs - but mostly he wanted to be in the carrier all the time. I am so so thankful that we had the carrier with us. It was a lifesaver.
We took walks, went to a beautiful park, picked up a few take out items on the street for dinner (no idea what he would eat - we were told he's picky!), went to 7-11 for soy milk, headed back to the hotel to eat, skype with my parents and the kids, and see what we could do to help him feel more comfortable. It was quite a day but we survived it and we even saw some faint smiles through the tears (not many, we had no idea what a smiley kid he was for a while).