S: Our Adoption Journey
BC: Every perfect gift is from above... James 1:17
FC: Our Adoption Journey
1: Dedicated to our son Gang Min-guk
2: On March 26, 2009 we began our wonderful trip to Seoul, Korea! We were on our way to bring home our son! We would spend a week in Korea; one of the most memorable and wonderful times in our lives.
3: After a 13 hour flight, and some yummy airplane food, we FINALLY made it! We were officially foreigners!
4: This beautiful garden is at the Dragon Hill Lodge on Yongsan Army Garrison. We didn't stay here, but we spent time on post with Uncle Allen. We shopped and toured the base.
5: This is the guest house that we stayed at. It was quaint, clean, in the heart of Seoul and off the beaten path. Our room had ondol floors that put off some major heat! We loved being away from tourists and experiencing the real Korea!
6: On our first few days in Korea, Uncle Allen and his girlfriend, Da-hee took us sightseeing! We visited a palace and a folk village on the first day.
7: It was late March and just a few cherry blossoms were putting on a show for us.
8: This is one of the less touristy palaces we visited.
9: Korean craftsmanship at it's best!
10: During the Japanese occupation of Korea, Japanese troops had thousands of cherry trees planted. | These pictures were taken at a folk village.
12: Trying on hanboks, traditional Korean costumes.
14: Korean fan dance | Traditional Korean drummers | Korean wedding procession re-enactment | Korean fan dance
16: Mak Kimchi 5lbs napa cabbage, 1/2 cup salt, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/4 cup sweet rice flour, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 cup hot pepper flakes, 1/2 cup garlic, 1Tbsp ginger, 1/2 cup onion, 5 green onions, 1 cup Koren radish Chop cabbage and cover with salt. Turn every 30 minutes for an hour and a half. Heat water and rice flour to make a paste and let cool. Process soy sauce, garlic, ginger and onion in food processor. Chop green onions and radish. Mix rice flour, sauce, hot pepper flakes, green onions and radish. Cover cabbage in sauce and allow to ferment at room temperature for a few days, then refrigerate.
17: Kimchi is Korea's national dish. It's spicy, delicious and very good for you. Some say it's an acquired taste, but I loved it right from the start!
18: Namdaemun! This market was enormous!!!
19: Touring some local markets in Seoul. These places have everything in the world you could want to buy!
20: Korean food is the best! Most of it we loved! | There was certainly plenty of good food to eat! Including silkworm pupae. (Which tastes about as good as it sounds!)
21: Street food. Eating cotton candy with a fork. Lookin' good. . . doing the victory hand sign backwards. . .
22: These are not pets! Trust me, I asked! | Korean ginseng is the best you can buy!
23: I love this picture of a Korean mother carrying her baby! | Shopping in Namdaemun Market | A night on the town | The first thing I bought were socks for all the kids!
25: Food Food and More Food! | Some very fresh sea creatures!
26: They have a Starbucks in Seoul! | This made my day!
27: Having tea at the Beautiful Tea Museum
28: Seoul Tower | This is a Buddhist temple. On the outside panels is a beautiful depiction of Buddha's history.
29: These are the cleanest subways I've ever seen! Those are gas masks with instructions for what to do if North Korea invades!
30: Holt's new building was about a ten minute walk from the guest house. Seeing this building for the first time, and knowing we would meet you within the hour was amazing!
31: Daddy doesn't look a bit nervous! This was take just before we met you for the very first time!
32: Our first moments with you! Could we even imagine how incredible you were?
33: Seeing you in person, for the first time, was so exciting! You seemed to know us already.
34: Mrs. Kwan and you. She cared for 16 babies before you come to her. I'm sure she's cared for many more since you came home.
35: Dinner Korean style! Mrs. Kwan , Mr. Oh and their children invited us for dinner. It was delicious!
36: Your foster brother was 15 in this picture. | He didn't think his english was very good, but he spoke it very well! | He loved you so much! | This was your very favorite toy! | Such a sweet baby boy! | Aren't you cute?!?
37: The first time I got to really play with you. | This was your family for about 6 months. They called you their son and brother. They loved you as their own.
38: Korean War Memorial
39: Statues of soldiers | Can you spot something that doesn't belong?
40: The detail in their faces is incredible!
41: The Statue of Brothers | Standing in front of this enormous statue, and considering what it stands for is awe-inspiring.
42: Uncle Allen took us to the Korean War Memorial. It was incredible! | Daddy and Unlcle Allen, strolling down the avenue.
44: Layers and layers of pants and shirts! Koreans keep their babies warm! | You are one perfectly healthy little boy! All ready for your flight to the States!
45: Holding you at Holt. | Getting ready for your preflight exam! | You seemed happy enough to be held by us! | This little tyke was your Buddy! | You two would get together for playdates!
46: Out of several babies in Holt's care, you and a handful of other cuties were picked for a photo shoot! This was the day before you became ours forever!
47: Mrs. Kwan was never far away. She let us hold you and play with you, but she was always right where you could see her. | She was such a wonderful mother to you while she had you!
48: You're wearing part of your hanbok. I've heard that all babies hate to wear them! That's why you were only half dressed. | Here's Mrs. Kwan putting on your hanbok for your pictures. I'm not very much help!
50: At the Holt guest house, right after we picked you up. | You were so calm! Daddy just stared and stared at you!
51: After an emotional day you finally fell asleep. . . and so did I!
52: When you get pizza from Pizza Hut, in Seoul, you get PICKLES! It's a surprisingly tasty combination!
53: Look how happy you are! | This is back at our room. We couldn't believe how well you did with us!
54: You just played and played! We were in total awe that you belonged to us!
56: At finalization! | With our lawyer, Tammy Akers | All the kids waiting patiently. | Sooo excited for this day to have arrived!
57: This is the day that we officially became a family! Now the real fun begins!