Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Happiest New Year

Originally I thought this post would be just a "normal" update about what's happened to us during the holiday season. We thought we still had many months ahead of us before we were matched with a child, but instead we received the best news we could have hoped for at the beginning of the year...we received the referral of our son. This was a huge shock that has us both extremely excited. I can't find the right words to express our happiness. It's still sinking in.

The week started out a little rocky. Late Sunday afternoon, our furnace stopped working. It was a cold day for southern Maryland (highs around freezing), so I hoped we had just tripped a circuit. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I called a repairman, but he couldn't get here until Monday morning. We pulled out a space heater, turned on a bunch of lights, and started the oven for a while to help generate heat. This kept the temperature steady, but we turned everything off when we went to bed just to be safe. By the time we woke up, it was in the 50s. Thankfully, the fix was quick and easy. A fuse inside the furnace had blown because of a loose wire. The repairman got everything going quickly and by the end of the day the house was back to a normal temperature.

Because of the problems with the furnace, I decided to stay home from work. As I was running around town doing errands, I received a call in the truck from a number I didn't recognize. It was our social worker. We had our monthly PIPS meeting planned for Tuesday, so I thought she was just calling to see if we would be there or not. She asked me if we were going to the PIPS meeting. I told her that we would be there. Then, she asked if we could come early because she wanted to talk to us. This was very unusual. She said that it "wasn't anything bad" and that she "wanted to talk to us then take things from there". She wouldn't share any additional information. Of course my first thought was that she might want to talk to us about a referral, but it just seemed too early. It had only been about 6 months since our paperwork had been sent to South Korea. Based on recent referrals, we thought it would take about a year before we received our referral.

I called Laura and let her know about the conversation. This started a very long 24 hour period where continued to run various scenarios through our heads. Was this a referral? Is there some reason she didn't tell us over the phone? Was it a referral for twins? So many thoughts ran through our heads. Needless to say, we had a very restless night of sleep.

As we drove to our meeting, we continued to talk about things. We were hopeful, but a little worried that we might not receive a referral. When we arrived at the adoption agency, our social worker wasn't ready to see us, so this added just a little more drama to the situation. We waited quietly but very impatiently. After about 30 minutes, our social worker came out and let us know she was ready to see us. As we sat down in the conference room, she set down a stack of paperwork and a couple of folders. She started by asking us a few questions then handed us paperwork that provided more information about a little boy that was available for adoption. It was hard to contain our emotions. We had been trying to start a family for many years with several sad experiences along the way, but all of it had led us to this one moment in time.

We went through his file, learning about his birth parents, his foster parents, and his medical history. We quickly felt a special connection. Even though we hadn't seen him we were already starting to form a bond with our son. After looking through the paperwork, our social worker asked if we would like to see pictures of him. We both answered yes immediately...we couldn't contain ourselves. As she handed us his pictures, the emotions of love overwhelmed us. This was the first time we were able to see our son. It's a moment we will never forget.

Here's the first picture that we saw. We really love seeing him stick out his tongue! It makes his picture so unique.

He was born in Seoul, South Korea on July 9, 2009. He was born 3 weeks early weighing 5 lbs, 8 oz and was 18.4 inches long. His birth mother named him Han Se-hun. In Korea, the first name is written last. Se-hun means "world merit" and is pronounced "Say-oon". His birth mother gave him his name in hope that he would grow up as a nice person contributing much to society. We feel very fortunate that his birth mother named him. It's common for the birth agency provide a name instead of the birth mother. It's great to know that he will understand how much his birth mother loved him and wished him a wonderful life. We have named him Zachary Holden Se-hun Townsend.

He had his most recent medical exam right before Christmas. He was a little over 5 months old. Everything looked great. He was described as a "cute and chubby baby". He was over 17 lbs and almost 24 inches long.

Yesterday he turned 6 months old. We decided to celebrate by going to our local Korean restaurant. Laura brought her little baby book that has his pictures (she doesn't leave home without it). She shared them with the waitress and owner. They were very happy for us. All of the reactions we've received have been overwhelmingly positive. The support has been amazing!
I'm sure that everybody is wondering when Zachary will come home. Right now we have to complete some additional paperwork. It should take about 4 months for all the loose ends to get tied up before we travel to pick him up. Right now we're hoping to travel by early May which is a great time to visit Korea. While we wait, we'll have plenty of things to do. We need to get his room ready, purchase baby items (stroller, car seat, etc.), baby proof the house, and have a baby shower. We hope that staying busy will help make the time fly by.

On a side note, we have created a photo site (http://zacharytownsend.shutterfly.com/) so that it's easier for everybody to see photos of Zachary. Right now we only have a couple of images. We don't know exactly when the photos were taken, but we believe it was some time in the first month. The images are scans, so the quality isn't very high, but we're happy to have any photos of our little boy. We're hoping that we can get the original images soon so that we can update the site with higher quality images. Also, the adoption agency in South Korea normally takes a picture at about 6 months of age, so we hope to have a more current picture soon.

Now that we have a referral and know what our son looks like, we can't wait to see him in person and bring him home. We're excited to be nearing the end of this part of our adoption journey and starting the next part with Zachary as a part of our family.

2 comments:

Dave and Beth said...

We are so very happy for you both!!! Zachary is adorable!!!

Kathleen said...

He is adorable! Love the tongue sticking out! You are going to be the GREATEST parents ever, and we are SO, SO happy for you guys. We'll have to get Zachary and Matthew together for a playdate.