WOW, today. Just wow, on so many levels…I barely know where or how to begin! During our first visit with Titus on Monday, we were invited to a luncheon that Eastern was putting on for all of the foster mothers (and fathers, if they wanted to come) and that we would get a bonus visit with Titus during that time! We were super excited, but had no idea of how the day would go other than knowing we needed to arrive at Eastern at 10:50 am. We arrived a few minutes early with tiny bouquets from a flower shop across the street and chocolates for our social worker and foster mom, and since we were the first native English speakers to arrive, our social worker had us edit her English version of the schedule for the day haha! All the other families currently in country arrived shortly and it was so great to talk with them!
In a few minutes, we were all loaded up into a van (the picture above!) and driven to a beautiful event facility and escorted inside a ballroom and seated as guests of honor in the very front. This wasn’t just some cafeteria in the basement fellowship hall…this was FANCY!!!! This venue is typically used for weddings and it was way fancier than my wedding ha! There were Chiavari chairs with the little ribbons on the backs, beautiful floral arrangements and the columns in the ballroom were made to look like blooming trees- we were all floored since none of us knew what to expect! So many foster mamas poured in the doors- some with their littles in tow, and some out for some special kid free pampering! Everyone was seated and there were several speakers (in Korean only! Our schedule indicated what each speaker was talking about) that talked on various topics such as preparing to give custody over to the adoptive families and the importance of dental hygiene. They also gave a special recognition to four foster mamas for their 15 years of service! 15 years of raising these precious ones, only to have their hearts broken over and over as they left with their adoptive parents…it was truly humbling to be in a room filled with the most generous and self-sacrificing women I’ve ever seen. They showed a tear jerker of a slide show of the kids who had recently traveled home…I lost it when the music along with the slide show was an instrumental version of “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus”. Lost. it. How beautifully symbolic…our wholeness and healing from every angle of this broken mess that is adoption is the Blood of Jesus. Oh, and next on the song was an English version of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”….uggghhhhh. I held in the ugly cry…barely. Then one of the American moms in our group gave a speech as she was traveling to take custody of her third little Korean cutie. I was so grateful to hear her words of love and grace over these brave women as a voice for all of us adoptive moms that are forever indebted to these women. More tears, of course.
Gotta back up for a min and say that in the midst of being seated, we spotted our foster parents with Mr. Titus in tow and they brought him over to us and let him sit at our table with us for a while! Oh! Be still my heart! That boy climbed right up into my lap and snuggled like you wouldn’t believe! He laughed and laughed playing peek-a-boo with Colby around my shoulders, and played with my curly hair (it is apparently fascinating to him ha!), and then almost fell asleep on my shoulder when our social worker said it was time for lunch, so he needed to go back with his foster parents.
And man, oh man…the LUNCH! There was no lie FOUR huge buffet tables with probably close to 100 different dishes…not even kidding. Sushi, noodle dishes, rice, soups, dumplings, chicken, pork, beef, fish, seafood, fresh fruit, desserts. It was overwhelmingly delicious and overwhelming just in general. One of the other families said it best: if Black Friday was a buffet, then it would be this buffet. No orderly lines, just a buncha mamas who probably don’t get “out on the town” much vying for all this fancy food! Haha…it left us Westerners feeling a teensy bit overwhelmed, but mostly with gratitude for the opportunity to be invited! We ate our lunch and our little dude wandered back and forth to us a couple times and just when it seemed as though our time was winding down, our social worker came over to tell us that Titus’ foster mom was going to sing a song!
Colby and I joked about breaking out the K-pop karaoke and her singing Gangnam Style, not knowing what to expect. Y’all…they totally broke out the karaoke! Not Gangnam Style, though ha! One other fm sang a song first, and then Titus’ fm was up. We asked afterwards what the words meant and it was an “oldie” type song about a doll…and she was singing to Titus. Her voice was strong and clear and (I thought!) beautiful. About half way through, she had to get out her tissues and we ALL got really emotional…except Titus. We were sitting up at the very front and every time she’d belt out a big note, he just smiled so big and clapped for her. It made me wonder if she sings to him often at home. When the song was over, she immediately rushed over and hugged him so tightly and kissed him again and again through many tears. I hugged her and we cried together and shared something big and powerful enough to transcend any language, culture, age, or race barrier…we shared the love of our son. Talk about sorrow and joy mingled together! What a treasure this was for our entire family…and Colby got the whole song on film! We will treasure this and share it with Titus for the rest of his life…we was never unloved. And on that note…it was time to go! We said our goodbyes until tomorrow and were rushed off to the van.
We headed back to the apartment and we were just trying to process everything that just happened…all these emotions are just so dadgum exhausting! I told him, it was so weird and wonderful to have the opportunity to gather in this setting rather than the little playroom at Eastern. It was like a family reunion or something. Like we all belonged there and it was a celebration of so many good things! (I’m serious about the celebration, as we were leaving, the granny-aged fm’s were continuing to karaoke and then got to dancing! So.Awesome.)
Juuuust as I was trying to gather my thoughts to write this blog, our little door bell rang and we could see two men from our video “peep hole” standing outside our door. Colby slightly opened the door and they announced that they were police officers investigating proper registration of our apartment as a guesthouse. Colby was like, “I’m sorry, but I’m not letting you in here.” I’m glad I’m married to him, because my rule-follower self gets stressed in those type moments and I would have been all, “Yes sir!” They went on to show us their identification and that they’re from a special “Tourism Police Department” that handles registration of places like this. We looked up the contact info for our airbnb host and gave it to them and they asked a few simple questions like when did we arrive and how did we find this place, etc. We tried to be cooperative, but it felt very vulnerable, even with proper identification. They assured us that we would not have to move accommodations or anything like that and that they were so very sorry to upset our trip, but it was to make sure tourists are safe when they come. They left and I messaged our host to tell her what had happened and that it was quite unsettling, mostly just for our personal safety and security. After about half an hour, she messaged me back saying she’d just gotten off the phone with them and reiterated that we would not have to move and she was so sorry for the “inconvenience” (ahem, if by inconvenience she means SCARE THE CRAP OUT OF US!!!!). I immediately felt like this was a distraction from the Enemy, sent to steal the joy of our day. After being shaken up a *teensy* bit, we are back to celebrating the joy of our day and will now consider our little “visit” with the police as just another part of our crazy, amazing, wild and hairy adventure! Life in the Brewer Fam is FULL of surprises: good, bad, and ugly!