Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Day 2 Meeting the Foster Parents

This was the main reason we decided to take this trip, the chance for our kids and our family to meet the Foster family that took care of our kids before they came home to us. I will try to explain what was happening as best I can. I will have a separate entry for Jimmy, Kay and Billy. A picture does speak a thousand words!

We woke up late as we were all dealing with jet lag and sleeping in a different place we had breakfast and were ready for the day. The kids were all acting a little out of sorts and Tracy and I were not sure if it was jet lag, or if they were nervous or what. Jimmy decided he was not going to wear the outfit we brought. Tracy gave Kay a nickname when she first came home and we still call her that today , it is "The Pookarook", and Kay kept telling us that she is the only Pookarook and that we will never be able to get another one, and Billy would not let us put him down and kept giving us kisses and hugs......

Meeting Jimmy's Foster Mom

Mrs. Yoo took care of Jimmy from the time he was 1 month old until he was 8 months old. We had a great time when we came in 2001 to get Jimmy and actually meet him at her house on her birthday and got to meet her "posse" of Foster Moms and sing Happy Birthday off key with them. How do we manage to get ourselves into these situations?

She was to meet us at 12:30 and for some reason was delayed so we had to wait and wait and she finally arrived at 1:30.

She looks the same and was very happy to see us and Jimmy as well. She was funny because her first comment was "he is still a large baby".

Jimmy was a little hesitant at first but after about 5 minutes he was laughing with her and standing by her and even gave her a hug and a kiss. Jimmy is nearly as big as she is.

She was very interested in what Jimmy has been up to and very glad he was so happy and eating well. We were very proud of him and it was nice to see he respected her and somewhat understood who she was.

They played and held hands and at one point we were teasing her that she had carried him on her back for many months and then she had Jimmy climb on her back and they both got a big laugh from that.

We inquired into Jimmy's Foster brother as Mrs. Yoo had two or three kids at the same time, she is a Saint. Well it turns out he is no longer doing Foster care and we also found out her Husband had recently passed away and she is very sad about that. She is now taking care of an elderly women and likes that. She has two children and they are both out of college and one has just returned from his mandatory service in the Military.

Even though she speaks very little English her facial expressions gave away how she really felt. She gave Jimmy a 10,000 won note, which is quite a sum for her, and he was very happy. It is traditional to give gifts so Jimmy gave her a very nice Pashmina, a silk Indian scarf, and a photo album of the past two years and she came as close to tears we have ever seen her in 3 times we have met!!

Tracy and I thanked her and we all gave hugs and kisses. It will be a long time before we all may meet again and it was hard to have to say goodbye. She wanted to go buy Jimmy a toy and come back all because she was so happy to see him. We all had a tearful goodbye and we promised to keep the pictures and letters coming so she can keep up on her , Jimmy.

Meeting Kay's Foster Mom:

Mrs. Im took care of Kay for the shortest time of any of our foster Mom's which was 3 1/2 months. Kay and her Foster Mom seemed to have a ball together when she was little and picked right up where they left off. Mrs. Im is very funny and very insightful. She gave Kay a pencil and coloring book set and a handmade crayon holder. Now we all know Kay is a budding artist but how did Mrs Im know, it was uncanny.

Kay gave her a big hug and said "yook my Foster Mommy", it was very cute. Mrs Im put her hands on her hip and firmly stated something to Tracy and I which we had no idea what but she seemed upset? It turns out she was mad because the pictures and letters had stopped coming and she wanted to know why. We explained the we now live in India and the mail system is not real reliable. She seemed calmed down but then demanded to know when we would be back in the US so she could start getting her pictures and letters about Kay! She is a pistol. Kay did give her a Pashmina as well as a photo album so I think we are safe for awhile.

When we first meet her and her husband the only English they knew was "Kay" and surprisingly enough it still is. Kay drew a bunch of pictures for her and her husband. It turns out he travels a lot for work and was out of Seoul and could not make the meeting. Mrs.Im's mother, Kay's foster Grandma, who when we met Kay at their home 4 years ago ,took Kay out for a walk while we were there, is also doing quite fine. Then just as we were getting ready to say goodbye in walks Kay's foster Dad and we all lost it. Here is this guy who was four hours away stopped what he was doing and drove all they way back to see Kay, and us, amazing.

Kay really had fun with her Foster Parents and we did too we were finally saying our goodbyes when in came Billy's entire Foster family Mom Dad and brother and sister...

Meeting Billy's Foster Family

Mrs. Song took care of Billy until he was 7 Months old. When we first met her and Billy he would not even look at us. He was by far the most attached of the three. He had a little scooter type thing he sat in at her house and she would roll him around in it. This is probably the beginning of his attachment to cars.

Now just like Kay's Foster Mom Mrs Song gave Billy a Transformer that went from a car to an airplane, his two favorite things in the world! Sometimes connections are far to uncanny to analyze.

Billy gave her a big hug and a kiss and his Foster Dad was also very happy to see him. They played on the floor he played with his Foster siblings who were also very happy to be there. It was awesome to see the connection was still there and that they all really loved him.

Mrs.Song wanted to know all about Billy and what he has been doing. She seemed pleased that he was eating well and had a round happy face. They wanted to take us all out to dinner which would have been a disaster. It was after 8:00 the kids were starting to meltdown and Bill was looking for "chocolate milk". It would have been fun to go out with them but what would we talk about, unlike Kay's Foster mom who could say Kay, Mrs. Song could not even manage to say Billy.

She then started passing out 10,00 won bills to everyone and we finally put a stop to it. They were and are very generous people.

We gave hugs and kisses, Billy's Foster siblings did not want to go and were crying as were the rest of us. It was so amazing seeing the look in every one's eyes and to know these people took time to come and see Billy whom they have not seen in three years.

I can not really summarize this meeting of several different families, not just cultural difference but genetic as well. It was well ,just families doing what families do. The love, support and care for each other, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly and sometimes yearly. The are connected to each other even if the never see or talk to each other.

Take a moment with your family and just feel the strength that is there and thank God each day for what you have.

The circle does grow stronger.