Sunday, July 8, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm, our flight home arrived in Memphis. My sweet friend and gifted photographer Heather Wood took these precious pictures. The Memphis Airport Security graciously allowed my children and the grandparents to meet us at the gate.
Our plane pulling up to the gate. I would love to know what was going through their minds.
We missed the kids so much. Even though we were gone only a week, it seemed like longer than that to us and the children.
After meeting our family, we prepared to walk out to see our friends.
Here is some of the welcoming committee complete with handmade signs and American flags.
I love this picture of our friends cheering for Noel. I can't help but wonder if this is what the angels in heaven do when one of God's children finally comes home.
Proud big sister.
Happy big brother
Noel meeting one of her new Tupelo friend Miss Sally Berry
I hope one day, Noel can look back on this day and see how much she is adored.
This is Noel's friend Allie. She has prayed for her soooo much.
Still Daddy's little girl.
This is Noel's friend Evelyn. She is from South Korea too.
This picture is with our dear friends the Omara's. Our families will always have such a sweet special bond.
Welcome to America Noel!!
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Hello Friends! I am sure those of you who are super observant noticed that I left out a day of our trip to Korea. Yes, you are correct...I did. Thursday, June 7 was a day I will not soon forget. The details and events of this day were so overwhelming to Rusty and me. I just had to take some time to gather my thoughts in order to publish this post. Jet lag is a true phenomenon and quite frankly it has kicked my tail. After being home 11 days, I think I am starting to come out of it. Ok, back to June 7. Humanly speaking our plans for the day were to visit the Holt Reception Center (where Noel was from 4-10 months) and then take a bus to Holt Ilsan (a special needs orphanage/group home for disabled children and adults.)
We asked our precious church to donate some things to give to the children and residents....and did they ever answer.... within 2 days we had 80 pounds of stuff!!
We had a large heavy duty black plastic box and a medium blue rolling suitcase to get from our hotel to the Holt office. In hindsight we should have taken a cab but we had just learned the subway so well and due to my motion sickness we opted that route. Little did we know that was all in God's timing for us to arrive at the Holt office exactly when we did. This is a picture of Rusty's attempted rig of our stuff ...remember this is 80 pounds...the rope didn't hold and Rusty ended up with the box on his shoulder and I pulled the suitcase. I am sure the people of Seoul thought we were insane...two giant white people carrying a black box down the street.
We finally made it to the subway..remember subways are quite underground and this involves lots of stairs...Im not sure if you can tell from this picture but we were pouring sweat by the time we sat down on the train. Then the subway had some technical difficulties so we sat for around 10 minutes not moving...again...God was timing our arrival to Holt. We arrived at our stop and climbed the stairs to the street above. We were told to look for a large bank and then we would find the Holt office...yeah right...so Rusty with the big black box on his shoulder asks an innocent bystander where this bank was...I'm sure the guy thought we had machine guns or something in this box to go rob it....crazy Americans...after about 15 more minutes and another gallon of sweat, we finally found the Holt office..
We walked in the doors and the first face we saw was this sweet little angel. This is Pia Ye-Seul. I will never ever forget Pia's face. Pia is one of the reasons we moved forward with the adoption process in the first place. Pia was born on Rusty's birthday. Last summer we got an email that she needed a family. We asked for her file and decided to proceed to become her family....along with two other families. At this point, we didn't have a home study...but we went into high gear to get one...When multiple families are interested in one child, the file goes to "committee." A family who had already completed a home study was matched with Pia. It was a hard day finding out we were not chosen, but God used it to move us forward toward our Noel. I stared at Pia's face for about a month last summer...I have since met her sweet mama on Facebook and watched her grow the past few months...what a blessing to "run-into" her.
Rusty and I got on the elevator to go up to the office of DJ You, Holt Korea's marvelous social worker. She was going to take us to the reception center to visit. She took one look at our box, suitcase and sweaty faces and we knew she thought we were crazy. She could not believe we took all that stuff on the subway. She told us she would get us a bus to Ilsan and we could go to the reception center that afternoon. We asked if we could drop off some vitamins and rice cereal for the children at the reception center and foster families before we headed to Ilsan. We opened our box and I think DJ realized how many donations we actually had and maybe we weren't so crazy after all...we were on a mission and at that point, DJ began to see that. She took us downstairs to the first floor which houses the well baby clinic and supply room for Holt children's services. As I was unpacking the box I felt a hand tap me on the shoulder. I turned around I saw this sweet face.
This is Noel's precious foster sister. She had tears streaming down her face and she pointed across the room and said "Eun-Seo"(Noel's Korean name)....and there she was...We weren't supposed to see her until the next day. I think it is even frowned upon if you try to see the child not at the scheduled time. Rusty and I had to keep our composure and not react to our baby girl standing right in front of us. The clinic was packed with foster parents and babies and we knew that it wouldn't be appropriate for us to make a scene. Still, we got to "talk" to her for a second.
I then put her in my lap and she watched Mont, Knox, and Laurie sing The Three Bears song in Korean. We felt like we were in a dream. We originally wanted to have two meetings with Noel before we took her away from her foster family, but with all of the people traveling...there just wasn't time....humanly speaking...but it was God's providence that blessed us June 7.
It was time for us to get on a bus to visit Ilsan. DJ said, "I'm going to get you a car instead." She proceeded to put us in the car with a driver and dear Dr. Cho.
Dr. Cho has been a pediatrician for Holt children for over 50 years. She is retired now at 79 but still sees patients at Holt Ilsan where she lives. She shared with us so much history about Holt and Korea. It was like we were given an inside tour guide...who "just happened" to be a Holt clinic traveling back to Ilsan...at the very moment we needed a ride. We arrived at Ilsan and visited Molly Holt's(Mother Theresa of Korea) house. Molly's father founded Holt Korea.
This is a little boy who just came to Ilsan recently. Most residents when they are admitted stay with Molly until they are placed in the group house/dorm where they will live. He was watching my children sing in Korean also.
Dr. Cho then proceeded to walk with us all over the winding hilly campus of Ilsan. Those stairs lead up to Harry and Bertha Holt's graveside. (She is 79 and climbed them faster than I did)
Then we visited a memorial built in honor of the 50th anniversary of Holt Korea. These are some pictures from inside the little museum.
Harry Holt with the 8 children he adopted after the Korean War.
This is the inside of the chapel at Ilsan. Weekly worship services and Bible studies are held here. We saw several of the group homes, the wheelchair basketball court, the vo-tech training facility where residents are given simple tasks/jobs like tying bags together, making pottery, folding brochures, etc. This gives the adults a job to do each day. Every resident we met on our walk throughout the campus was smiling. People with down's syndrome were pushing those in wheelchairs. They took such great pride in each of their responsibilities at work and to one another. Our tour came to an end and we said good-bye to Dr. Cho. She was so thankful for all of the vitamins and toys we sent to Ilsan. We consider it a huge blessing we were able to spend the afternoon with as lady that has given her life to the care of Holt children. Thank you Lawndale for your generosity.
We rode the subway back to Seoul and walked back to DJs office around 4pm. She looked at us and said "perfect timing" lets go visit the reception center.
These dear ladies took care of Noel from last June(4months old) until December 15, 2011. The reception center houses around 6-10 children. Children are placed here when they have special needs and/or there is not a foster home available. These ladies along with many volunteers love and care for the children there. We are so thankful for them.
As we rode the subway with the empty blue suitcase back to our hotel, Rusty and I sat silent so humbled by the amazing day. We are in awe of all of the details the Lord had planned for us halfway around the world in Seoul, Korea.