Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Early Shower For An Early Flower?

As the saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers". In our case, we're hoping that a March shower may bring an April flower...our son Zachary.

On Sunday, March 21st, we had our baby shower. It was a wonderful day that we won't soon forget. But before I describe the day, I'm going to go back a few months to set the stage.

Shortly after we received our referral for Zachary, Laura and I started talking about what we would like to do for our baby shower. Our dear friend Candy had already told us that she wanted to plan our baby shower, so we didn't have to worry about anything. Very quickly, we decided that we didn't want to have a traditional baby shower. Since our adoption of Zachary was the beginning of our family, we wanted to celebrate this by having a baby shower that I call a "family style" baby shower. We decided that we didn't want our baby shower to include just women or be a couple's baby shower. We chose to have a baby shower with families...women, men, and children.

After deciding on the type of baby shower, we started searching for the perfect baby invitation. We chose an invitation that was a cross between a baby shower invitation and a baby announcement. The invitation wasn't just a way to invite people to the shower; it was a way for us to introduce our son to the family and friends that we love. The invitation included a magnet with a picture of Zachary sitting in his bumbo seat (taken at 5 1/2 months) and the following wording:

Zachary Holden Se-hun Townsend
Born July 9, 2009 in Seoul, South Korea

A little boy born in a far away land,
God has chosen us to hold his hand.
Our new little boy has so much love to share
a little blessing forever in our care.

Join us in a couples baby shower for
Daniel & Laura Townsend

Sunday, March 21st, 2010 (2:00– 4:00 p.m.)

Hampshire Neighborhood Center
6006 Hampshire Circle
Waldorf, MD 20603

Hosted by Candy & Jason Vestal
RSVP to Candy by March 7th

* Children are welcome *

Once the invitations were sent, all we had to do was wait for the special day to arrive. We knew the baby shower was in capable hands with Candy and her family of helpers. Over the coming weeks, she started receiving responses. She kept most of the responses a secret so that we would be surprised when everybody arrived at the shower. About a week before the shower, Laura started to wonder if her parents might try to surprise us by arriving even though they said they weren't able to make it. She knew that her dad said that he had to work that weekend, but she began to suspect that she wasn't getting the truth. She talked to them several times during the week and they continued to deny that they would be at the shower. The Friday before the shower, I received a call from Laura's dad. He asked me what we were doing that evening. Now I was starting to wonder if they were planning something. At this point, my curiosity overcame my good senses. I decided to do some online research to see if the story that her parents told us really checked out. I found that the reasons that Laura's dad gave for not being able to attend the shower were not true. I told Laura. I won't go into all the details of the next 24 hours, but in the end her parents and brother showed up at our house on Saturday afternoon. Their plan had been to show up at the shower and surprise us. Unfortunately, I ruined that surprise.

Now that Laura's parents were here, we decided to make the most of our time together. Since it was late in the afternoon, we started to discuss going out for supper. I'm not sure who made the suggestion, but it was decided that we should go to a Korean restaurant. Laura's parents had never tried Korean food, so we wanted their first experience to be a positive one. We chose to eat at Han Gang in Annandale, Virginia. Laura and I had been there several times and always enjoyed our meals. Since it was her parent's first time eating Korean food, we suggested that we all share a Korean barbecue...a good introduction to Korean cuisine for people that want to start slowly. We chose several meats including bulgogi (marinated thinly sliced beef) and galbi (beef short ribs). While the waitress was cooking the meats at our table we also had a variety of panchan (a variety of small dishes of food) including the most famous dish in Korea...kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage). Laura's parents were very open to trying all of the foods. Their favorite was the bulgogi. We had a nice evening and were happy to share a little bit of Zachary's culture with Laura's family.

We awoke on Sunday morning to a beautiful sunny day...a perfect day for a baby shower. The shower was at 2:00pm. We gathered up everything we needed for the shower and headed over to our community center about 30 minutes early to get ready. When we walked in, we were both overcome with emotions. Candy and her family had done a great job setting up the room. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Table at the room entrance (everybody signed the mat around his picture)

Table decorations

Notice the small cards containing words written in English and Hangul

The cake table (including a couple of photos of us)

Close-up of the cake

Gift tables

The baby shower started a little late (we couldn't help mingling with everybody). Candy kicked things off by welcoming everybody. Next, we got to enjoy some great food. We had sandwiches, chips, meatballs, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, vegetables, and home-made punch. Laura and I ate first then made our way around to all the tables to get our pictures taken with everybody. After that, we started opening our gifts. As you can see from the pictures above, we have very generous family and friends. We received many cute outfits, fun toys, and practical items too. It was a great mix. There were also a number of cards that had some special messages that brought tears to our eyes on more than one occasion. In particular, my sister, her husband, our nieces and nephew sent us a hand-made card with the following poem...

Family Tree
We've add to our family tree,
a stronger one to make...
A child from another plant,
has become our new namesake.

Just as a limb is grafted
from one tree to another...
It alters and improves the plant,
making it uniquely, like no other.

Our family tree has been improved,
adoption made this so...
For love, much more than bloodlines,
makes us thrive and grow.

You chose to share your life and love,
and all the joys to come...
Our "Family Tree" has blossomed,
with the arrival of your son!

It took us quite a while to open the presents, so at 3:30 we took a little break to play a quick game. Candy handed out a piece of paper to everybody and asked people to correctly spell Zachary's Korean first name. To our surprise, 7 people got it right. We were impressed that so many people not only knew his Korean name, but were also able to spell it correctly. For the record, his Korean name (and the name we will use for his second middle name) is Se-hun. The shower ended around 4:15 as we gave our tearful thanks to everybody.

It was a very special day that was everything we hoped it would be and more. As we sort through the gifts and finish getting his room ready, we realize that we are another step closer to traveling to be with our son. We're hoping that our wonderful March shower will bring us our little April flower.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Dan and Laura: We were so sorry to have missed it! I see now that I ruined the surprise by telling you via Facebook that we couldn't make it rather than contacting your friend. I didn't realize she was keeping the responses a surprise, so my apologies for that. I love the details that you paint in your writing. I truly feel that I am there! Candy and Crew are talented individuals...the decorations and personal touches were great! So glad you are more equipped with the "stuff" we all need to keep our babies healthy and happy and well-clothed and entertained!!! Zachary is coming home soon, I just KNOW it! And when he does, and when you settle in, we'll arrange a playdate with his pal Matthew Halverson! Much love to you all as you wind this last stretch of track to your son! I remember it well.