Hello, everyone! We have the greatest news: On Friday, July 17, 2009, at 5:45 p.m., we were matched with a baby boy from Korea! It was the day before we were leaving for Bethany Beach for a week, so we were able to tell my entire family in person (which wouldn't have been likely, b/c we are usually four hours away from any of them)! We called Jeff's parents immediately that evening, popped a bottle of champagne, and then (somehow) managed to resume our packing! Here's how it happened:
I got home from work at 5:30ish that Friday. My cell phone started ringing, and I saw it was from Margie, our caseworker. I picked it up, and she said, "Kathleen, are you and Jeff both there at home?" Of course, I knew immediately why she was calling! I said "Yes." She went on to explain that she had just called our home number but no one answered, which was weird b/c we were both there! Anyway, she said, "Hang tight. I'm going to call you back on the land line. Both of you pick up, OK?" So I hung up and my heart was frantically beating, and I could barely contain my excitement.
The home phone rang, and we both picked up a receiver. Margie gave us the best news we've probably heard in three years: They had a referral for us...a little boy named Seong-jin, which means "bright and true." He was born 3/2/09 and weighed 7 pounds, 11ounces. He is perfectly healthy, with round chubby cheeks and spikey black hair and gorgeous dark eyes! We got two photos (both of them taken when he was 12 days old): One head shot of him sleeping peacefully, a truly angelic look on his face. This photo speaks of peace, and it's my favorite of the two (even though his eyes are closed). The second photo is a full body shot, with him dressed in (literally) about 10 layers of clothing, so he looks like a bouncy little bowling ball. Margie said he has that "look" that says "10 layers" to her. Apparently, Korean parents like to keep their kids really, really, REALLY bundled up, convinced that they are always cold. Or at least, that's my guess. I can't post the photos here, as we signed an agreement saying we wouldn't post the photos to public or quasi-public sites such as Facebook, blogs, MySpace, YouTube, etc. If you'd like to see him, I can e-mail you his photo, no problem (that was cleared by our caseworker), so just let me know offline via e-mail and I'd be happy to show off our son!
We will rename him Matthew Seong-jin Halverson. Originally we were going to use the middle name of Christopher (in honor of the son we lost to stillbirth in 2006), but we do think it's important to preserve some of his Korean heritage by using his Korean name as his middle name. I think Christopher would understand, and he knows that he is remembered always in our hearts! The guilt factor kicked in for a few days, but in talking it out with Jeff, I saw that this decision was the right one to make. It doesn't mean we love Christopher any less, or Matthew any more. And his name would have been too long had we included Christopher after Seong-jin, which we were originally going to do.
Matthew Seong-jin is from the city of Busan, in southeastern Korea; Busan is a very urban, bustling port city of 3.66 million people. It's a very tropical area of Korea; Jeff said the climate probably has a Florida kind of feel. It reminds me of Hawaii or coastal Maine (two of my favorite places!), in that the base of the mountains jut right up against the shoreline--which is one of my absolute favorite geographical features ever! Best of both worlds! So you can go hiking high in the mountains and then chill out on the beach or hang out at the pier, all in the same day! And they say that people from Busan speak in a different type of Korean dialect that the Koreans from Seoul (which is northwest of Busan) have trouble understanding the folks from Busan sometimes. Busan is supposedly a more industrial, blue-collar city (maybe comparable to Baltimore or Pittsburgh, I'd guess?), whereas Seoul is more white-collar corporate (think Washingon, DC, or NYC). At least, this is my supposition based on the reading I've been doing. ANYWAY...
I'm not sure if people know where our choice of the name Matthew came from. It's kind of a cool story, admittedly a little "out there" for folks who are firmly grounded on Planet Earth (which often I am not!).
I could earn brownie points with my mom and tell you that it is in honor of St. Matthew from the Bible, but I'd be lying. Truth is, I wrote a poem (most of you know I'm a closet poet/journal writer and have been keeping a journal of random writings and tons of poems since I was about 12), years and years ago, before Jeff and I were even sure we wanted kids at all. It was called "I AM AT THE WINDOW." Look Letters 3 through 9; they spell "MATTHEW." Pretty cool, huh?!? And the poem was essentially about the fact that I felt his presence, our child, waiting at the window of our lives, and I knew he'd be coming to us someday. It was the beginning of my yearning to be a mom, and I haven't stopped since.
So now, all of a sudden, my friends are asking for invite lists for showers, and my family is planning a Welcome Home Matthew party for sometime in the Dec/Jan/Feb timeframe (depending on a lot of things--his/our adjustment, readiness for travel to PA, his personality, etc.). And all of a sudden, happiness just fills my heart with the most intense, shining light that I think my soul has ever felt. There is a sense of optimism, of true, unfettered hope, and a sense of gratefulness for the blessing that has come to our life in the form of our son.
I'll blog separately about the various "next steps" in terms of paperwork. This posting is getting entirely too long.
If I find the poem, I'll consider posting it, although I'm usually very private about sharing my poetry with others.
Thanks for listening, thanks for checking back on this blog time and time again, and thanks for giving me the feeling that people really are reading my blog postings and really do care about our whole adoption journey. This is Posting #75, a nice memorable number whose significance I'll determine somehow (I'm pretty superstitious about numbers).
I keep listening to Sarah MacLachlan's song "Ordinary Miracle" and thinking how right that feels.
"It's not that unusual, when everything is beautiful, it's just another ordinary miracle...today.
The sky knows when it's time to snow, don't need to teach a seed to grow, it's just another ordinary miracle today.
Life is like a gift they say, wrapped up for you everyday. Open up and find a way to give some of your own.
Isn't it remarkable? Like every time a raindrop falls? It's just another ordinary miracle today.
Birds are meant to have their fling, they always make it all while spring, it's just another ordinary miracle today.
When you wake up every day, please don't throw yoru dreams away.
Hold them close to your heart. Because we are all a part
of the ordinary miracle...
Do you want to see a miracle?
It seems so exeptional that things just work out after all; it's just another ordinary miracle today.
The sun comes up and shines so bright, and disappears again at night.
It's just another ordinary miracle today."
I am so humbled by our son Matthew and the incredible blessing and gift that his remarkable, selfless birthparents gave to us in giving him life. May he always be protected and guided throughout his life, and may we be protected and guided as we navigate this incredible journey called parenthood.
I feel so blessed, my friends. So very, very, very blessed. Putting the magnitude of this feeling into words is simply impossible for me to do.
People keep telling Jeff and I how lucky Matthew is and how selfless we are. On the contrary, we feel like WE are the lucky ones. WE are the blessed ones. Matthew Seong-jin is a gift and a miracle, plain and simple. And we already love him beyond any description that warrants words. May God and the universe protect him and guide him to us safely in the coming months.