After a grueling 16-month wait, our phone rang on a Friday morning at 7am and the voice said, “Go get your baby.” Without thinking I blurted out, “Oh, I can totally do this again.” And 24 hours later we were on a plane to South Korea to meet our son.
It probably seems strange that my mind went to my possible second child when I hadn’t yet met my first. But I always knew I wanted at least two children and the last few months of that wait were HARD. Like, gut-wrenching “Can I put myself through this again?” hard. I was devastated about all of the milestones we were missing, but mostly every day felt like another day that would make it even more difficult for my precious baby boy to leave the only family (his foster family) he knew.
We gained a lot of coping mechanisms over those 16 months. Do not get me wrong, there were days that coping meant allowing myself to go to bed and cry until I couldn’t cry anymore. But we also reminded ourselves that these were our final times to be a married couple that can do whatever they want! We took a few weekend getaways and an amazing trip to Aruba. We learned about the Korean culture, made Korean food and learned basic Korean words. We put a ridiculous amount of effort into all of the care packages we sent our son. We ran a 10-mile race together, obsessed over every detail of our son’s bedroom and binge-watched all kinds of shows. Most importantly, we leaned on family and friends who delighted in every update and photo that we received along the way. And in an unexpected, amazing development, we made new best friends who were also waiting to travel to Korea to bring their babies home.
In 2012 when we brought our first son, Simon, home, we were required to finalize his adoption in the courts in Minnesota. We were not allowed to begin another adoption process until Simon’s adoption was finalized. The morning after Simon’s adoption court date, he and I got in the car with our envelope and drove to CH/LSS. With tears in my eyes, I watched him hand over the envelope with our initial papers to start the adoption for his little brother.
I didn’t think it was possible, but there were more twists and turns during our second adoption than the first. We waited 23 months for Archer to come home. But THIS time, I was a second time Mom. As a second time Mom I knew that things would be okay, that my child was loved beyond belief by his foster family, and that naturally it would be a hard transition but we would figure it out as a family. The number one reason that we chose to adopt from South Korea was because of the exceptional reputation of the foster care system and the peace of mind it gave our hearts that our child was loved before we could care for him. We knew we would be okay because our children have always known love and they will know love in their forever home as well.
As for the missed milestones, turns out there are a million milestones! I do not have a story about when my children first walked or said their first word. I DO have stories about their first English words. Both of which happened before we even left Seoul: “Thank you” for Simon and “Bye!” for Archer. I have stories about the first time they jumped with two feet, jumped on one foot, rode their bikes, mastered the monkey bars, got stitches, said “I love you” and learned to ice skate. Not to mention the multitude of firsts that are in our future. I’m generally very anti-cliché…but these boys were SO worth the wait.
About the Author: Desirae and her husband, Steve, are the proud parents of two boys, Simon (7) and Archer (5), both adopted from South Korea.