What an amazing morning! Matt and I set out about 7:30 for SWS. We had a medium sized piece of rolling luggage and a large duffel bag full of gifts for Minah's foster family and the staff at SWS. At first it felt a bit strange to have so much with us on the subway but we weren't about to carry all the gift bags in our hands. Since it was rush hour, the subway was packed most of the ride over. It only ended up taking about 45 minutes to get there. At first we went out the wrong exit to the subway. After we walked around the block we realized we needed to be on the opposite side of the street. We crossed over and found our way to SWS. We went up to the 7th floor and met Minah's case worker. We could tell right away Minah is special. The staff started to talk about her right away and they were telling each other we were Minah's parents. We waited about 5 minutes and our social worker took us to the waiting SWS driver. Her case worker told us that she feels Minah is so beautiful and very smart. She said she has her picture on her wall paper on her computer. How sweet! On the way down she shared some information about Minah's foster family we did not know and we were a bit unprepared for it. Minah's foster family does not live in Seoul, but about an hour away in Gyung-gi-do. We also learned that Minah is their first foster child, so she is very special to them. Her foster parents have 2 grown sons and she is the first girl. She told us they are very sad that she is leaving and they are having a difficult time saying good-bye to her. I can only imagine the pain they are feeling right now. My heart truly breaks for them.
The ride to their apartment was beautiful. We could see the mountains and lakes during our journey. It was very green and lush with agriculture fields dabbling along the way. We arrived at their apartment building and went up to the 18th floor. Funny, their apartment number is almost the same as our room number at the Fraser Place. Another "number" thing for us. Our social worker rang the bell and her foster mother answered. When the door opened, Minah was playing on the floor. She looked at us a bit confused but not unhappy. We were told she is shy around strangers. Their apartment was full of toys for Minah. We sat down and started to play with her. We could tell she didn't want us to hold her and we didn't try. We just tried to interact with her. On the ride over we were told more about her like of the figure skaters. She does 3 separate gestures she learned from watching them. She points to her cheek and smiles for one, the second one she puts her hands to the side of her face, and the third she puts both hands across her chest. She did the cheek one for us several times. She has a certain gesture when she wants to listen to music. She points in the air with her right hand and her left pointer finger touches her right elbow. That's the music cue. She pats on her foster mother's back when she wants to be picked up and carried on her back. When she is sleepy, she puts her head on a big soft pillow. She was so happy. They told us she very rarely cries. She loves Nanta. She saw part of the show on tv and likes to imitate the characters playing the drums. She has a little board book with an electronic drum on it. She uses little red drum sticks to play it. She showed us over and over. Did I mention how smart she is?
We were also told that she likes to be told she is cute, so we had to learn how to say this in Korean. I think she is used to hearing that a lot. Her foster mother gave us so many gifts for Minah. We have an entire case of dried seaweed wraps (one case of small ones and one case of large ones), Minah's first hanbok-which is stunning!, 3 board sound books and a soft book the SWS staff gave her for her first birthday, 5 containers of rice we can warm in the microwave, 2 pair of shoes, 2 pair of pajamas, the 2 outfits we sent for her, 4 pair of socks, 3 outfits, a bag of hair things (including the first hair clips she wore) and more. We figured we would be bringing back to our room an empty suitcase and duffel bag but we filled it and had to hand carry a few things. Her foster mother was so generous and gracious. She shared cute stories with us and explained how she does things for Minah. It was an emotional day for all of us. At the end our social worker told us that her foster mother has been having trouble sleeping and eating the last couple of days. She loves Minah so much and Minah loves her. We are so happy that she has been so well loved. At the same time, we know that will be hard when it is time to say good-bye on Thursday when we take custody. We promised Minah's foster mother we would send her letters and pictures often. I could tell that made her happy.
We were told we need to be at SWS at 2:50 for our tour of the Baby Reception Center (where Minah spent about 2 weeks before she joined her foster family). Next we will meet with Minah and her foster family for our last meeting. Afterwards we take custody. We can't wait to see her again but we also know it will be a very emotional day for all of us.
The entrance to SWS
Our first views of our girl!
She got a bit bashful and laid down
She still didn't quite know what to think of us.
Daddy and Minah played Nanta! Good ice breaker.
She really loves this little drum.
Our smiley girl!
Minah patting her foster mom's back to tell her she wanted to be picked up.
Beth and the social worker. Minah's foster mother also served us fruit, rice cakes, and juice. She was so kind. All of the stuff on the floor by the table were things she gave to us for Minah.
Minah was getting tired. Her foster mother was warming water to show us the temperature she likes her bottles. She doesn't like them cold or room temperature. Just a certain "warm". Good thing she showed us!
Isn't this a beautiful picture? She sure is loved.