I can’t believe it, but we are home from our first trip to Korea! It was a whirlwind experience filled with tons of sightseeing, yummy foods, cultural experiences, and most importantly, meeting our Maverick 💙
Wanted to sum up our trip for everyone who has been asking for details and touch briefly on what happens now!
• Day 1- we arrived at Incheon airport, got our money exchanged, got our WiFi hot spot rented (for those reading who are doing your first trip soon-HIGHLY recommend doing this. It was $35 for the whole week and with it I could iMessage anywhere), and met our van driver and we were off! We got to our hotel at about 6am, dropped our bags off, and were told we could check in around 1pm so we got our comfy clothes on and set off to explore. The subway system in Seoul is so user friendly and most people use it, so we got ourselves subway cards and headed to my top priority place to see- HOLT! I knew no one would be there on a Sunday, but just seeing it in person I got tears in my eyes. It had been a long time coming. We then had coffee and breakfast (y’all, there are coffee places EVERYWHERE! My dream!) and randomly met up with some friends who are also adopting. We spent the rest of the day doing ALL THE WALKING. We wanted to see everything we possibly could. We walked across one of the huge bridges and got some beautiful skyline photos for Maverick’s lifebook, went to a market in Insadong, and just took in all the sights. We got back to our hotel at 3 and by 4, we were so tired that our “nap” turned into an all night sleep 🤣
• Day 2- this day we started with coffee, then headed to the Gwangjang Market for some souvenir shopping and to meet up with a friend for lunch. This market houses 5000 small shops within an area about as large as a neighborhood market Walmart. Just people and things EVERYWHERE! We got some fun souvenirs, tried lots of different snacks and foods, and enjoyed lunch. We explored the Itaewon area that night and had yummy dessert together.
• Day 3- THE DAY! We met our baby boy this day! We seriously both woke up at about 4 that morning. Half because we were still majorly jet lagged, half because we were soooo excited to finally see our boy! After a little coffee and breakfast, we headed to Holt. My heart sank a little as each child walked in and it wasn’t our little guy, but finally, the very last one in the door was Maverick! As soon as he came in he was off! He ran that room so many times, we got ourselves a great workout. The only time he stopped was for Teddy Grahams and when we forced him to take a picture for the court. I had read that when some meet their kiddos that they don’t click right away, and the feeling of instant love just isn’t there. Much like with some parents after their child is born. The bond develops over time. I was so grateful, however, that this was not the case for either of us. We both fell head over heels for him very quickly! After an hour and a half meeting, we had to say our see you laters. This day it was a bit easier because we knew we still had one meeting left. We went back to the hotel to rest and unload the HUGE bag of toys/gifts from the foster parents and spent the rest of the night exploring Gangnam and got to walk around a beautiful Buddhist temple.
Day 4- Sightseeing. We saw a lot of amazing things this day. We went to the Gyeongbokgung Palace and got to explore all over it with our tour guide. We really appreciated getting to take in such amazing pieces of our child’s history and learning more about his culture. One thing that’s incredibly important to us both is making sure that we keep his culture as a part of his life as he grows. We’re not adopting him to try and make him just like us. Yes he’ll be a part of our family and in every way possible he will be just like one of our biological kids, but we also don’t want to ignore what makes him unique and special either. The fact that Holt International puts emphasis on this and schedules tours for their adoptive parents I think says a lot about them as an organization. Our tour guide also took us to a local market and we got to try lots of different traditional Korean foods as well. We ended that night in Itaewon with some friends who were also there for adoption and we all had dinner together at an amazing Korean BBQ restaurant.
Day 5- Our “See You Later” Day. We again woke up pretty early this day with tons of excitement and expectation. Having our first meeting under our belts, we kind of knew what to expect out of it and also knew what he really preferred and how he plays so we had more confidence this day. Unlike the first day, Maverick was the first one through the door this day and was even a bit early so we got some extra time to play with him. You could tell right away he was much more comfortable with us this day and actually within just a few minutes he walked up to John and motioned for him to hold him. That basically melted me into a puddle. He was much more calm this day and we spent a lot more time having physical contact and closer interaction, whereas the first day had been a lot of chasing him around the room. His little spirit is just so sweet. He reminds me a lot of Karsen at that age. It’s so cool how God plans these things. I believe He handpicked Maverick for us and He knew that our family would be the perfect fit for him and visa versa. Saying goodbye this day was pretty tough. I didn’t lose it in front of Maverick, but I did spend a good part of the afternoon crying. It’s hard saying goodbye to the child you’ve fallen in love with. We were thankful for the distraction of having coffee with most of the other families who would be attending court with us. Almost felt like having coffee with family. People who have gone through the exact same experiences as you for the last 2 years have a way of connecting to your heart pretty quickly. The conversations were so comforting, just seeing that we weren’t alone in our struggles. We pretty much took it easy the rest of that night. Easy going dinner and some walking around. Emotionally that’s about all I could handle.
Day 6- Court!!! We were pretty nervous about this day. Even though we knew court was more of a formality than anything, it’s still very nerve wrecking to do. We went to an amazing bakery for coffee and breakfast and then headed to meet up with the rest of our group. Court lasted about 10 minutes for each family and the questions were basically exactly what we had been told they would be. The judge ended our session with saying “please raise him with a lot of love” which definitely gave me all the warm fuzzies because that felt pretty final. We had lunch with our group this day and spent the rest of the day relaxing and packing to get ready to leave Saturday.
We had a little crazy exit from Korea trying to get out before the Typhoon hit. HUGE shoutout to Delta for working so quickly to get our flight situation handled and getting us out before the weather got really bad. They were serious God sends for sure. We are trying to book them on our 2nd trip just based on their performance that day. It was such great customer service.
All in all we feel our trip was about as good as we could have ever hoped. Maverick took to us very well, our court session went flawlessly, and we got to see a ton of things while we were there. I cannot wait to get a phone call hopefully very soon telling me it’s time to go back. We’re soooo ready!