Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reunions, Part I: Hope's foster mother

The most anticipated part of our recent trip to Seoul was the chance for the girls to meet people who have loved them, and who continue to love them, in Korea. We were blessed that when we asked, each of the girls' foster mothers was free to meet us during our ten-day stay. But we were a bit shocked when the agency forwarded a schedule indicating we would meet with two foster mothers and one very special family all within a two hour time span Monday afternoon October 22, our first business day in country! It may have been one of the most emotional afternoons of my life.

To do each reunion justice, I will break the afternoon down into three posts: Part I --Hope's foster mother; Part II --Joy's foster family; Part III --Amy's family. I will conclude the series with two more posts: Part IV--Mercy's foster mother; Part V --Amy's family in Pusan.

We arrived at the Seoul offices of Eastern Social Welfare Society about 15 minutes before our first appointment and met our Post Adoption Social Worker, who had arranged our visits and who acted as our translator. While she was upstairs, checking to see if a larger meeting room was available, Hope's foster mother arrived.

We did not need a translator to introduce us! She recognized us and we recognized her. She swooped Hope up into a big hug. Hope wasn't quite sure what to think. The last time she saw her foster mother, Hope was six months old, going home with us after spending four months in her foster mother's care.

Our meeting moved to a new (since the remodel) large conference room on the second floor that used to be a guest house bedroom. Our PAS social worker had to divide her translating time between Hope's and Joy's foster families. But Hope said she understood her foster mother even though she was speaking Korean. "She told me how beautiful I was and that she was amazed I had three sisters!"

We showed Hope's foster mother the photos she had taken for us while Hope was in her care, and with the social worker's help, were able to add names and identities for some extended family members who are in the pictures.

Hope's foster mother gave her this adorable backpack: a teddy bear that gives Hope a hug while he transports jewelry, Hope's "cell phone," hair accessories and other essentials no six year old girl would leave at home.

Hope's foster mother loved her as a baby and loves her still. Her foster mother has retired now and we treasure this opportunity for Hope to meet her. It was sobering to learn that since our last visit, some members of our girls' foster families have died. Even though Hope is only six, we cherish this chance for her to connect with her time in Korea before she joined our family.

Since only my husband and I travelled to bring Hope home, this is our first family photo with her foster mother. (Joy was asleep in her foster mother's arms when this was taken. That story is next.)

With thanks to Grandma who took most of these photos, and to Hope's  foster mother, who gave us permission to share these photos on our blog.


Grace said...

Wow! Such a blessing to get to meet her foster mother after 6 years. Can't wait to see the other reunions!

Three Northern Stars said...

Amazing. How beautiful and touching. I can't wait to read more.

amy's family said...

Foster mother would be very happy to Hope grow up pretty and health.
And I was also pleased to Hope's smile.
Please tell "I miss you hope!! I always remember Hops's a gay laughter.~♡"