Wise Jewel #Blogger’s Bash #Connections

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This is my entry for the Blogger’s Bash in London in June. The topic for the short story is CONNECTIONS.

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I flew to Chicago alone to pick up our second child, a Korean adoption. All I knew of her was from a postage stamp-sized photograph of her tiny round face surrounded by a bowl of black hair. And her Korean name, Kim Hyung Ju. I had asked someone who spoke Korean what that meant, and he replied, “Wise Jewel.”

I had managed to stay calm during the flight from Raleigh-Durham, but when I was met by an old friend at the airport to spend the time between my arrival and Hyung Ju’s, nervousness and excitement started to mount. The feelings left me unable to eat much of the lunch my friend bought me to celebrate.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

“You’d think I’d have this down by now,” I replied, pushing my food around on my plate. “I just wish Gene were here.” My husband had decided to stay at home with our three-year-old son, thinking it would be easier for our daughter to transition to one person at a time. She had lived with her birth parents for two months before being placed with foster parents by the adoption agency in Seoul. After having her for four months, this couple had wanted to keep her. When I learned that, I could only imagine their pain when she was taken away. Along with eleven other infant adoptees, she’d been cared for by another other couple during the flight from Seoul to Seattle, and yet another from Seattle to Chicago. I knew my daughter was old enough to be confused and frightened by the constantly changing faces.

Other parents gathered at the arrival gate to meet their new children, but first the passengers had to leave the plane. Finally, just a cluster of remained, many whispering excitedly. When my name was called, I walked down the gangway to the plane and entered coach class. “Mrs. Granger? This is your daughter.” A young woman motioned to one of the babies in the first row.

And there she was!  Her foster parents had provided a traditional Korean dress with little rubber shoes and her hair was pulled into a tuft on the top of her head. She was adorable. I gathered her up and took her back to the gate, where I held her on my lap and talked to her. She looked in my eyes… and started screaming.

I held her and rocked her, but the screaming continued. I changed her clothes into ones I had brought, soft and comfortable. She screamed. I changed her diaper. More screaming. I offered her a bottle. She took a sip, rejected it and continued screaming. I walked her around and around in the stroller I’d brought and then went to the gate for the flight back to Raleigh. With her still crying at the top of her lungs, we boarded our flight.

Once we were seated, I held her in my lap facing me. “Cameron (the name we had chosen for her),” I said in a soft voice, “you need to quiet down now. I’m your mother, your only mother. You’re home.”

She suddenly stopped crying. She put her little hands on either side of my face and looked deeply into my eyes for a long moment. There was something there, a moment of recognition, an acceptance. She leaned into my chest and closed her eyes. We’d made the connection.

Then

A long time ago…

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62 thoughts on “Wise Jewel #Blogger’s Bash #Connections

    • She did, but it took a while with my husband! She screamed every time I left her and I had to have her in a pouch on my side or back most of the time. It was several weeks before she trusted my husband enough to be left with him!

  1. impressive and emotional… ❤ glad to hear your daughter has turned into a wonderful young adult of whom you're proud… bravo & congrats, bonne chance & bonne continuation!!!

  2. Beautiful and evocative from beginning to end – and who wouldn’t haven fallen immediately in love with that adorable child? The minute she stopped screaming, of course. lol 🙂

    Although I saw this from the Reader originally, I got interrupted before I could actually READ it and forgot about it until the Sunday Share reblog from Myths of the Mirror reminded me, I jumped over from there, and I’m sorry we don’t have a LOVE button we can click!

    Have you been in touch at all with the birth parents or the foster parents who wanted to keep her? Has your daughter?
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    • Madelyn, when my daughter spent a year in South Korea teaching English, I told her she might want to visit Holt International in Seoul and check to see if she could meet her birth and or foster parents. She chose not to do so. Our son, who is also adopted, has had no interest in finding his birth parents, either. We’ve been very open in sharing what information we had with both kids. .

      • Interesting how different kids can be. Some are eager, others reticent, and still others simply not interested – different nationalities originally. Real life is not much like the movies, it seems.

        I am acquainted with people in all three camps, and all but one is fine with his or her decision. I would imagine it has to do with what happens during attempts to contact.

        There is an adopted blogger who is still struggling with what he found out and blogs about it often, My heart goes out to him that he can’t seem to find peace. He is Korean as well, and his “real” parents (how he seems to consider the parents who adopted him) sound great, also open, and encouraged his journey to meet his birth mother.

        How wonderful that your daughter chose to spend a year in South Korea. My closest friend from High School, who became an educator, adopted a Korean daughter and raised her as a single mother. Her concern was making sure her daughter was aware of and proud of her heritage, since she believed it might be difficult to look different from her peers in the upscale, not especially diverse area in which they lived. I lost touch with Bobbie, so I have no idea how her daughter handled the issue, but it was on my mind as I read your story. I guess that’s what prompted my question. I appreciate your willingness to answer what was really only curiosity and none of my business. I worried the moment I hit send.
        xx,
        mgh

      • My daughter and I – the whole family – is very open about her adoption. She loves her Korean heritage and she married a guy who is half Chinese, to we are a polyglot family. My son’s origins are German.
        She may not have wanted to search out her birth parents because there is great shame in being adopted in Korea. Her friends, once they learned, just told other people that her parents lived in the US and never mentioned we were Caucasian. Cameron has told us often how very lucky she is that we adopted her!

      • She sounds lovely as well as lucky indeed – she won the lottery where adoptive parents are concerned.

        If there is shame about adoption in Korea, she would have had a tough time in the home of foster parents in Korea. I’m sure that offered some small comfort to them as well.
        xx,
        mgh

  3. OK, it took me a while before I could comment because I was crying too much. What a beautiful story about a mother and daughter introducing themselves to each other. She is a very lucky daughter and you are a very lucky mom. Thank You for sharing this amazing post. ( thanks to Diana for re-blogging it !)

    • Aw, you are so nice to say this! It was an astounding beginning to my life with my daughter. She is indeed a Wise Jewel. Unbelievable how’s she’s grown in to her name. When I got home from Chicago, we fed her and put her to bed – she slept through the night. The next morning, we brought our son to her room to introduce them. He looked in her crib, and when she opened her eyes, he said (all children are unfailingly honest, “Why can’t she open her eyes all the way?” She was the first Asian baby he’d ever seen! His big brother role has always been to tease her unmercifully, but woe unto anyone else that teases her!

      • They do have their moments. They are now like my brother and me – the age and career differences have separated them but my brother and I reconnected when we started our families. They will undoubtedly do that, too.

      • So true. My brother and I were close as kids, but then different colleges and living in different states took that away. But now, as we take care of our mom together, we are closer than ever.

  4. This is just great. My husband was from India. I recognize the “little round face”. Our daughter’s whole head was as round as a little apple and she had a head full of curly black hair. 🙂 — Suzanne Joshi

  5. A heart warming post that left me feeling this is not such a bad world, with wonderful people like you doing wonderful things there is hope. I wish you and your family a very happy life, congratulations on receiving Cameron in your lives and for achieving success at the awards with a perfect story.

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