Friday, April 18, 2008

Yunji is home!

We arrived in Portland on Tuesday. Yunji did very well on the plane -- she slept for over half of the flight, and played quietly for the rest of it. Lisa and I were both really worried about taking her on such a long flight after having just met her a few days before, but everything worked out fine.

To our amazement, seven people showed up at the airport to welcome us home! Amy was there (as expected), to give us a ride home. Marie and Jerry were there to greet the new granddaughter. Todd, Ann, Gerry, and Jenn also appeared for welcome greetings. Thanks so much to all of you for taking time to be there -- it's great to have such good friends. :)

Tuesday afternoon we mostly just rested from the long trip. Since then we've been doing -- not much! Just hanging out at home and getting to know each other has been the priority. It's taken a few days, but we now have Yunji back on a John-and-Lisa West Coast schedule: up at 7 am, in bed by 9 or 10 pm. She is still sleeping through the night, with only one wake-up call for a bottle feeding. We're both really happy about that!

A few friends and family have stopped by so far to say hi to the new family member. We welcome everyone to do the same. Lisa will be home for a couple of months now, so most anytime should be fine. Just give a call before you come by, but we would love to see you.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Saturday night we had dinner with our friends Dr. Bae and his wife Jungsook. They took us to a traditional Korean restaurant. We had an absolutely amazing meal that we will never forget! We greatly appreciate their generosity.

Yesterday we visited the shrine of Changgyeonggung with our friend Janie. She is from Seoul but spent several months studying in Portland last year. It was great seeing her again and introducing her to Yunji. Janie and her mother gave Yunji a beautiful gift. Thank you, Janie!

Today was our last day in Korea. We started off by walking around the neighborhood and having a great breakfast of bibimbop at a local restaurant. We then met our friends Eric and Paula from Salem. They are adopting a baby boy through Holt, and had just met him for the first time. Lisa was tired, so she and Yunji stayed home while Eric, Paula and I took the subway to Insadong. There we had a meal to remember. We accidentally ordered way too much food, and actually tried to eat it all. Fortunately it was very good food, and we had a great time.

When I returned home, Lisa said that she and Yunji had had a very good day. Yunji was eating much more than before, playing games, and laughing. This is really good news, because we weren't sure how long it would take for her to warm up to us. It looks like we are all making progress much more quickly than we had thought.

Tomorrow we will get up early and head to the airport. Soon we will all be home in our own environment. We have had a great trip to Seoul, both to pick up our daughter and to see the country. We plan to return soon to keep Yunji connected to her homeland.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We have now spent the last day and a half with our daughter Yunji in Seoul. It has been great getting to know her. We have taken long walks in the neighborhood together, eaten in a couple of restaurants, and just spent time being close.

Yunji is still rather distant with us. She doesn't smile much, and cries most of the time when she is awake. She is not eating as much as we would expect her to. We are sure it is just because she doesn't know or love us yet, but it is difficult for us. We just need to continue to show her our love, and give her everything that she needs.

Lisa is doing a fantastic job as a new mother. Yunji is really only happy when she is on Lisa's back, walking around outside. Whenever Lisa sits or lies down for a rest, Yunji gets fussy. All of those years of backpacking in Alaska and Mt. Hood are starting to pay off for her.

We are enjoying our last couple of days in Seoul, and are looking forward to our return to Oregon.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lisa and I had a very eventful day. We started off with an early run along the Han river. There's a nice path where many people bike, run, skate, and walk for their morning exercise. We knew a big day was coming up, and we needed some endorphins to get us through it.

At 9:00 we met at the Holt office for a Seoul City Tour. We had imagined a big tour bus with lots of cheezy megaphones and souvenier stops. Instead, we were the only ones on the tour, and it was led by a couple of (very nice) college kids. They started out by asking us what we wanted to see on the tour. We told them we hadn't seen the Seoul Tower yet, so off we went in that direction. We took a cable car up to the top of a hill in the center of the city named Namsan, and from there climbed to the base of the tower. There were incredible views of the city from the top of the hill. I'd heard how big Seoul was (about 11 million), but seeing high-rises stretch for as far as you can see through the haze is kind of surreal. Pete and Jin turned out to be great guides, and answered a lot of our questions about Korean life.

After the tour we had lunch (we joked that it was our Last Supper), and then prepared for our 3:00 meeting at Holt. There we met the foster mother and Yunji again. Lisa took Yunji for a walk, which induced a new round of tears and blood-curdling screams. We were given Yunji's mecical records and Korean passport, and instructed on how to get through immigration with her. Then there was time for one quick photo with her foster mother, and we were off.

The walk back to our guest house was suprisingly quiet. Lisa was again carrying her on her back, and we found out that this is her happiest position. We also found out just how attached she really is to her foster mother right now -- since this afternoon, she has spent almost all of her time either sleeping or crying. Lisa said that Korean mothers rarely let their babies out of their sight. It is understandable that Yunji is so attached to one person. We need to earn her trust, and it will take time, but we are seeing some progress already.

We now have about three days here with her before our flight home. We plan to take it easy and just spend time concentrating on her needs. Hopefully by the time we leave she will be comfortable enough with us to sleep some during the flight.

We love our beautiful new daughter Yunji.

PS: She has stopped crying (for now).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lisa and I visited Yunji's foster family today. It was a very moving experience for us -- we got to see how a traditional Korean family lives, and we also got a first-hand look into our beautiful daughter's first few months of life. I could write a lot right now, but I'm dead tired, and I know you're all here for the pictures anyway. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lisa and I arrived in Seoul a couple of days ago. We are staying in a guest house provided by Holt (the adoption agency), which is similar to a small hotel. It is not in the downtown area, but there is plenty to do and eat where we are. It is a short subway trip to many of the locations we want to see.

Yesterday we visited the main Korean palace named Gyeongbokgung. It was in use from around 1300-1500. It was beautiful -- in addition to the architecture, the cherry blossoms are out here, and everyone is enjoying them. We also visited two well-known markets here, Namdemun and Insadong.

Yesterday we met our daughter Yunji for the first time. She is absolutely amazing. We met her foster mother, Mrs. Kim, who is very experienced and knowledgable. I hope some day we can be as good a mother as Mrs. Kim appears to be.

Yunji didn't take too kindly to us at our first encounter. She cried a lot, and wouldn't let us hold her. I didn't get any pictures of her yet. Mrs. Kim said that she is probably just uncomfortable right now, but that she usually does well with strangers. She suggested that we come to her house today to visit, where she will hopefully be more receptive to us. We agreed, and will take the subway to her place this afternoon. Lisa and I are both hopeful that it will go well.

Tomorrow afternoon Mrs. Kim will bring Yunji back to Holt, and we will bring her to our guest house. We will remain here with her for several days, and return to the US early next week.

Monday, April 7, 2008

We just arrived in Seoul last night, and are supposed to meet our daughter in a few hours! We'll have many more pictures of her soon.

Lisa is enjoying her first few glimpses of the country that she left long ago...