It's 2:30 am in Korea. I can't sleep. I keep waking up every morning at this time, then I am ready for a nap at 6am. I wonder what Jaina is doing now...
The first two days have been amazing. Monday started by us going to a flower shop to buy flowers for Jae's birth mother. It was an unbelievable experience meeting her. It's his story to tell. He will share more when he's ready.
After spending a few hours with her, we went to a community center and taught an English lesson to 2nd and 3rd graders. They were so cute. They acted just like American 2nd and 3rd graders! We taught them body parts in English and then played some games. They loved Simon says and were very good at it! It was hilarious when we opened it up to questions from them. They asked things American 2nd and 3rd graders would ask like, "Are you married?" "What is the name of my favorite cartoon character in America?" Their favorite part of the afternoon was having us do face painting. The girls lined up with me asking for butterflies, kitties, and swans. The boys lined up with Jae asking for dragons, gorillas, and snakes. We are definitely not artists, but they loved it.
At the end of Day 2 we cooked a meal with a group of birth mothers. Some of them were expecting and some had already had their babies. Some were so young... maybe 13 or 14. Others were my age. The birth mothers loved hearing that I was pregnant too. It was very emotional when we started talking with them. There were many tears shared by the adoptees and the birth mothers both. One woman shared her desire to have an abortion even through the 7th month, but her inability to do so. She cried as she talked about considering suicide. We cried with her. This woman ended up having her baby and he was 100 days old that day. We had a celebration for him, as it is part of Korean culture to celebrate the first 100 days of a baby's life.
The next day we cooked and spoke with another group of birth mothers. One young woman just had her baby Nov. 17. She was really struggling with her decision. Mostly, the birth mothers wanted to know if the adoptees were mad at their birth mothers or if the adoptees ever thought about their birth mothers. Jae's response was perfect. He said, "Your child may be mad at you. But all children are mad at their parents, not matter what. As your child ages he or she will realize the selfless act of you giving him or her opportunities through adoption that you never could have provided on your own." It was important for them to hear that. We all felt so connected as we laughed and cried together.
Some random things...
This being my first international trip, I am struck by how similar we are. I was so worried about making so many cultural mistakes and offending. But people are people and we all share this life in similar ways.
I love Korean food. It does not love me.
I am enjoying "couple time" so much. I feel like a newlywed.
I don't care what country I am in, it is wrong to not be able to flush toilet paper.
The industrialization is killing me. I feel so fortunate to live in WNY near Letchworth, the finger lakes, and farming country.
I am so grateful to Jae's birth mother for sending him across the world. I'm so grateful to be a Rambuski-Newman. I love my in-laws and I can't imagine my life in any other family.