1 year ago yesterday we received a very short email from our social worker from many years ago, very vaguely asking us to call her. When I returned that call, from my coworkers office, I received the shock of the year.
We were just coming off of 2008 and with Brian's spinal cord injury accident we had just begun to recover, emotionally and of course, him still physically. We had recently attended a dinner with our small, but local Korean adoption group for Lunar New Year. One family announced that they had received a sibling call.
I had heard of these since we started our first process back in 2002,
but knew they were rare. I remember DH's face that night. He just looked
at me and said "you said these things don't happen". I told him on the
way home that night that they don't happen to people like us. Not
really meaning anything 'cause I don't really know what kind of people
these things happen to.
I knew, right away, by our social worker's voice what she was going to say. I remember shaking so hard. I almost dropped the phone as I sat in my co-worker's office for privacy. I started crying right away. I was excited, scared, happy and sad all at the same time. I still had to tell Brian though. I called Brian right away and it took a lot of explaining for him to realize it really had happened to us too. It was barely after lunch by then and we both left work to go home and discuss without kids around. We literally knew nothing other than it was a little brother to our daughter. We were not going to be told anything more about him unless we were truly interested. We went back and forth on our decision many times in just a few short hours. We finally decided we needed to get some things in order just for us to make a decision or even get to the point of a real discussion about it.
We went to his mothers because she has a daycare and that's where our youngest was going. We needed to make sure she had an opening for him. I didn't want to separate my children because keeping them together is a lot less stressful for the new baby too. She told us she actually did have an opening because the next youngest would be turning 2 soon. Once we had that out of our way we decided we had to tell the kids. It would never be something we would hide from any of them regardless of what we chose, so we decided that just as the older ones had always been in the decision making process for each adoption they should all have a voice in this one too. We explained what had happened, in kid terms, and told them that this would be a sacrifice for them as well as us. We would possibly have even fewer small vacations as we already took, less time, money, etc. They immediately said yes. We had 4 yeses.
Of course, that didn't mean it was a go. We, as parents, still had to decide what we could handle and if we could afford it. This was becoming the biggest obstacle as it usually is in adoption. The process had changed quite a bit since our last adoption and the fees involved had doubled. We were looking at an estimated $35,000. We discussed our lives as well as what it would or wouldn't do to our child that was biologically attached to this little boy. I remember being so stressed that first night that I woke up to go to the bathroom and thought to myself..."oh that was just a dream, it didn't really happen" and feeling relieved. It only took seconds for me to wake up enough to realize it really had happened and we still needed to decide something.
By the next day we had a little more information on him from Korea. We had his birthday and with no other information they just said "he's healthy". Something we weren't used to in all of our other 4 kids. We still had no money for this. I thought about it all day at work that Friday. On my drive home from work that night I planned to call our social worker and tell her no. We just couldn't come up with the money. With our prior two adoptions my dad had loaned us the money and we paid him back. With it doubling he just didn't feel comfortable with it, plus his circumstances had changed since and we knew we wouldn't be eligible for any grants this time. But, when I walked in the door that night Brian was standing there and he looked at me and said "yes". I really didn't realize what he was talking about and had to ask him. He told me to call the social worker and tell her yes. I did tell her yes that night so she could finally get our son's medical information. We were going to be allowed to decline if there was anything in there that would prohibit us from caring for him properly or something we didn't feel we could handle.
Honestly, though, I was still having my own reservations and some of them were medical and some of them were financial. Most of them were financial. We were finally saving some money and close to getting all of our kids out of daycare after 12 years. I went to our priest to talk to someone who was neither related to me or friends with me; hoping for some enlightening. He was so kind and made time for me and when I told him I was a little scared of adding child #5 in this day in age he looked at me and said "Lisa, I'm one of 10, what did you think I would say?" True that. He told me to wait for the medical and if what I was afraid to see wasn't in there I should take that as a sign. He then offered us some of the money his mother had left him when she passed away because children were always on her heart and she would want this. I cried again.
By the end of that Sunday I had an epiphany. With the $6,000 we would be gifted we would have enough money if we watched our pennies even more and emptied our saving and took the remaining equity out of our home loan up to the 80%. We called our bank on Monday and found out the rates were quite a bit lower than we had and they would ask all of their contractors to lower the closing costs for us due to our situation.
By the time all of our fees were due and even by the time we got our travel call just 2 months later we had just enough money to pay for all of it and even paid for the supplies for my husband and friend to build an extra bedroom in the basement for the big boys so we would have space for our new son.
So, as you guessed, his medicals left out what I was afraid to see and didn't feel up to so we jumped in with all our hearts.
Here we are one year after that fateful call and he has been home for 10 months already. I cannot believe this child that we never even dreamt of or planned for is here and I can't live without him. I can't imagine our lives without him. He is amazing and beautiful and sweet. He makes me appreciate life in a new way.
Life changed in so many way by adding him. We have a bigger home loan now, we emptied our savings, we have another child in daycare when we were getting close to getting them all out....BUT. I wouldn't change it or have the money for anything in this world but him. He's worth everything we had to go through to bring him home, including the tears and fears. I should have known to trust God. But, it's like jumping off into an abyss that you can't see the bottom of and finding the ground is really right there, you just had to trust and have faith.
So my littlest boy is now 18 months old and is walking and talking and doing all of the other things we have seen 4 other times, yet it's so wonderful this time, so new this time. And, there's this piece of me that is thankful to God, not just for us (DH and I) to be able to share our lives with him, but that he allowed the two siblings to be together and know each other. I feel a sense of peace for their birth mother because of this. Something to give her some happiness in her grief and loss over the years.
We love you Jaemin...to the ends of the Earth and back and would do this all over again for you if ever given the choice.