Koren became a mother in 2014 through an international adoption from South Korea. I wrote about their adoption story this week. Koren was open and offered so much information I felt that having two posts might benefit us all. This is presented in a question/answer format. Please feel free to comment with any questions or comments you might have, as always be respectful!
Since it was an international adoption what resources do you use or do you to teach your child about the heritage of Korea?
The adoption agency we went through specializes in Korean and Chinese adoptions. As a requirement of adoption we had to take classes, read, etc… We met quite a few families in this process. We were introduced to a family who already had an adopted boy from Korea and was going back around the same time as us to get new little boy. We have stayed in touch with this family and find that they are a great match to our parenting style and can show us the ropes. Also, our agency has family adoption day gatherings approximately once a season. We have not attended one yet but hope to soon. Also, Denver is pretty diverse so we have gone to a Korean festival and just keep our eyes open for interesting events. They also have a Korean Heritage camp in the mountains that we have been invited too. This takes place next Spring.
What experiences have you had when people learn that you adopted? Would you mind sharing how you handle those whether positive or negative?
It is very obvious that our son is adopted. We’ve only had one bad experience and this happened prior to us adopting. A friend of a friend found out we were adopting from Korea and started machine gun questioning me about everything and before I could answer any questions she was on to telling me that I would be stripping him of his identity especially because we were changing his name.
Because of how this interaction started I actually didn’t engage much in this conversation. This lady obviously had her mind made up, about something she knew nothing about, and I wasn’t going to change it. I merely said: from everything I’ve read, the classes I’ve attended, and the people I’ve talked to who have gone through the process – EVERYONE changes their child’s name and this doesn’t seem to be a problem – and I walked off. My personality does not need/lead me to fight. I could tell that I was going to get nowhere with this person so I didn’t try.
Other than that we have had nothing but positive interactions regarding our adoption. It also helps that Logan is so stinkin cute! I know some people are sensitive about how the question is asked: “is this your son” but I don’t get offended because you can tell from their tone they don’t mean to be insulting that they are just curious.
Parents that are looking into adoption or waiting for that phone call they have been chosen, what advice would you give them?
I’m not sure there is any good advice for this. It’s so stressful and you’re just longing to hear ANYTHING……..just try to remember to keep living your life. Don’t live for the adoption. Remember to keep going out with friends and keep doing activities/hobbies you like to do. Maybe you don’t feel like it at the time but once you are meeting with friends or whatever a little bit of weight is gone for a little while.
When you were waiting to adopt or it was final, is there a special gift or something someone did that made it extra special? My sister gave me a necklace that says “Logan – Forever Family 12/1/14” I wear this all the time (and I’m not much of a jewelry person). We were in Korea when we received custody and we had to stay there a few days to finalize things. So no we didn’t really do any gifts. Logan was enough of a gift and he had plenty of stuff waiting for him in his new bedroom.
Do you celebrate things such as Gotcha Day or Adoption Day? We are just coming up on our first Gotcha Day. I do want to celebrate this but I’m not sure how yet. A lady I know, who was domestically adopted, said her parents always gave her a little present and a cupcake. The present wasn’t as extravagant as a birthday or Christmas present but just a little something to celebrate/acknowledge the day. So I’m planning on doing something like that.
Adoption is expensive and the paperwork alone can be overwhelming. Do you have resources you would recommend to help those considering adoption?
Buy a binder with those slip sheets so you can easily get your paperwork in and out. Try to stay on top of the paperwork as it comes if possible. I know that at the beginning you get a bunch of paperwork all at once. I just did one little packet of papers every few days. I didn’t try to overwhelm myself by doing it all in one day or as fast as I could. I didn’t go super slow but what’s a few days….you have time to breath in between packets of paper.
To help with expenses we did a “go fund me” page. Also, our friends helped us put on a BBQ to donate money.
Share any tidbits of your adoption story you care to here. Anything from where you were when you got the call you had been chosen, or when your child had questions about being adopted. They can even be your experiences as a first time parent.
Again, as I said earlier, remember to live life as the adoption is going on. It really does help to get out there and see friends and such. I wanted to just dwell on what could I do to make things go faster…..there was nothing I could do. So I needed my husband to remind me to keep going out and doing things instead of shutting myself in and worrying. I have told many people that this was the hardest thing I had to go through but the sting of it all gets less and less everyday as we enjoy Logan more and more everyday.
I can relate to Koren's answers in so many ways, even though our adoption was domestic. Thank you Koren for sharing your insight and truthfulness in our adoption series this year! And yes, Logan is so stinkin' cute! :)
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