S: Our Journey to Liam...A trip to our son's birth country. | South Korea
BC: Created for Liam Chulmin Carwile We love you, Mom and Dad 2012
FC: Our Journey to Liam... A trip to our son's birth country | South Korea
1: Carwile USA | Dear Liam, From the moment we saw your face we longed to hold you in our arms. Finally, we received that most desired travel call and on September 17, 2011 we embarked on the journey of a lifetime...we traveled to Seoul, South Korea to meet and bring you home! What an adventure it was! It meant so much to us to travel around your birth country and experience the culture. It was beautiful and amazing and something we will always remember. This book is for you, son, so that you may always have a piece of Korea right here with you. All Our Love, Mom & Dad
2: We headed to Lexington Airport at 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning and flew to Dallas, TX.
3: In Dallas we met up with Korean Air, which was a direct flight to Seoul, South Korea. Our flight was 14.5 hours long. | The Long Flight!! We were so excited to begin our journey!!
4: We | We landed at Incheon Airport on Sunday afternoon around 4:30. We took a one-hour bus ride from the airport to our beautiful hotel, The Renaissance. | South Korea
5: Our Room! It had amazing views...and comfy slippers!
6: The street sign pointing to SWS. | Social Welfare Society | Our first full day in Korea was also the day we met you. We were so nervous and excited. We walked from our hotel to SWS, which was just a couple blocks away. It was drizzling rain that morning.
7: We waited in this little conference area for the social worker to arrive. When it was time to go we loaded up in a van (with another family from NY) and headed out! Both families about to meet our babies for the first time! | Gifts for your foster family. We owe them so much. | Our Big Day | Happy Parents!
8: SWS Baby Reception Center | This is where you spent your first few months of life.
9: At 5 months old you were placed with a very loving foster family. They cared for you as their own until the day mommy and daddy could come and bring you home. This is where you lived for 6 months.
10: Our first sight of you! | Pororo Plane - your favorite toy. | To see you for the first time was very surreal. All we had had up until this point was pictures. But there you were, right in front of us, perfect in every way. | You stayed very close to your foster mom at first. You loved her so much. We are forever grateful to her for taking such great care of you.
11: Daddy held you first! It was an instant connection. | Hugs and kisses and smiles
12: But mommy was soon after... | It was a dream come true to finally hold you. You loved touching our face. We probably looked so different to you.
13: Our First Family Photos | You turned 11 months old on this day, September 19, 2011 | We are the happiest people on Earth at this moment.
14: Time to say goodbye for now. | You walked us to the elevator | Our one-hour visit with you didn't last long enough. Leaving you, although it was only for a few more days, was so hard at this point. However, we left being hopeful and excited for the future. We had a lot to do over the next couple of days and we knew the time would pass quickly. | Gifts from your foster family - wedding ducks, masks & hanbok
15: Let's Tour Korea!! | We wanted to see as much as possible and get lots of pictures for you! We did a fair amount of touring over the next two days. Seoul is an amazing city.
16: Transportation in Korea | Being the skillful travelers that we are, the first time we saw the Korean subway map we thought "Uh-oh!" | We took the Korean Air Limousine bus from and to the airport. This was the bus schedule at our stop, which luckily was right outside our hotel.
17: We traveled mostly by subway. It was the cheapest mode of transportation and was fairly simple to navigate once we were shown how it worked.
18: Let the tour begin... First Stop: Insa-dong
19: Insa-dong Street is one of the most memorable attractions in Seoul and represents the focal point of Korean traditional culture and crafts. Stores in Insa-dong specialize in a wide variety of goods that can only be purchased or appreciated in Korea: hanbok (traditional clothing), hanji (traditional paper), traditional teas, pottery, and folk crafts.
20: The famous name chop store in Insa-dong. | Carving your name in the stone.
21: This was the name chop we bought for you. It has your Korean name written in Hangul. It is carved from a beautiful stone and stored in a velvet lined box. They gave us a dish of red ink to go with it. | Pressing the stone to make sure your name looked good.
22: Seoul City Bus Tour | Seoul Station - where our tour began
23: This was a full day of touring Seoul. It is an AMAZING city. We saw many popular sights - the highlights were Seoul Station, Itaewon, Seoul Tower and Namsangol Hanok Village | Seoul Station is a central hub for transportation throughout Korea. Trains run from here to most destinations south, as well as a few to the north. Additionally, two of Seoul's subways intersect here. Most buses running through downtown also swing by here, making it a good place to start exploring.
24: Itaewom | Itaewon, a popular tourist attraction, usually refers to the street full of stores and restaurants. This area was busy! | Another stop on the Seoul City Bus Tour!
26: Namsangol Hanok Village This village has five restored traditional Korean houses and a pavilion, a pond and a time capsule. It's perfect for school field trips...we saw lots of kiddos here that day.
27: It made your dad want to test out his skills. | We got to see a Taekwondo exhibit. Very neat!
28: The last stop on our Seoul City Bus Tour...was also our favorite! | North Seoul Tower | The 236.7m Seoul Tower sits atop Namsan Mountain. Seoul Tower offers panoramic views of Seoul and the surrounding areas. The view is so stunning that many consider Seoul Tower the best tower in Asia.
29: The hill to get up to the tower was so steep!
30: It is a tradition that lovers come to the tower, place a lock there, then throw the key over the side to symbolize that they will be locked together in love forever. It has been popular with parents too, as they symbolize their love for their children lasting forever. This was our favorite thing to do...to declare our everlasting love for you. | Locks of
31: There were so many locks...it took awhile to find the perfect place. We settled on a corner spot, so it would be easier to find.
32: September 22, 2011 | We were to be at SWS at 11:00 a.m. to pick you up. We arrived early, of course, and sat outside taking random pictures of the area.
33: You looked so cute. We couldn't take our eyes off you. | This was your foster mother, sister and uncle that came with you. Your foster father was working. | It was great to meet more of your foster family. They were so nice. We owe them so much for the care they provided you.
34: Our goodbyes with your foster family happened so quickly. They helped me put you in the carrier, walked us to the elevator, gave us a quick hug while shedding some tears...then the elevator doors closed and just like that you were OURS! I was trembling. | Our Social Worker, Ms. Bang
35: Our friends, the Ervins. I met Shawna along our adoption journey & got the privilege of traveling at the same time so we could meet. | I couldn't believe I was walking the streets of Seoul with you in my arms.
36: Our First Day & Night with you. | Your first bottle | That smile melts our hearts.
37: Your first nap. | You loved being in your daddy's arms. We held you non-stop for the first couple of days.
38: On Friday it was time to leave Korea and head back to your new home in Kentucky. There were a few places we didn't get to see on our trip, but plan to see them with you some day when we come back. Here they are... | Leaving on a jet plane... | Gyeongbokgung Palace | DMZ North and South Korean border
39: ...but we'll be back again | The Blue House Home to the President of the Republic of Korea | Lotte World Amusement Park
40: Welcome Home Liam! | We survived the 12-1/2 hour flight! | Several family and friends were waiting for us in Louisville. | Chicago Airport O'Hare
41: Your first time in a car seat. You finally fell asleep, but you didn't like it much at first. | You were a celebrity, complete with paparazzi & balloons.