Yesterday our Christmas Gift Team group of 30 was joined by a couple who is adopting through our agency and who had arrived in Seoul the night before to pick up their 3-year-old son. They were supposed to have had a little tour with a college-age volunteer, but since our group was already planning a tour of the Holt offices and the city of Seoul, the agency sent them along with us. They were introduced to the group and they explained that they were in Seoul for the week and would be meeting their new son on Tuesday (today) and would hopefully be able to take him with them permanently on Wednesday before flying home to their other two boys on Friday.
Our Christmas Gift Team was still getting to know each other since most of the team had only arrived in Seoul the night before, but we’re an enthusiastic bunch, here to learn about Holt’s programs and bring Christmas joy to those Holt serves. I spent some time talking with this couple who were plopped down in the midst of our merrymaking. I especially wanted to connect with them about our shared experience of adopting a little bit older child since our youngest daughter was just shy of three-years-old when she came home. We had a couple of short conversations and one longer one over lunch. I know they were pleased to be with our group for the day, but as I watched them, I realized that it was quite clear that their reason for being here is very different from ours. While we were laughing and enjoying the camaraderie of a shared mission, they were anticipating, with both eagerness and nervousness, the meeting they will have today with their son and his foster mother. They were no doubt thinking of the months of paperwork and waiting they have endured; of the love they feel for a child they’ve never met, of the hopes, and perhaps even the fears, they have for the coming days, weeks, months and years.
When we arrived back at the hotel last evening, as the rest of us headed in different directions for dinner, I saw the couple in the little lobby convenience store. They look glassy-eyed with jet lag and, no doubt, a big case of nerves. I’m on my normal Christmas Gift Team “high” and, when first seeing how tired they were, was glad that my emotional “high” staves off any exhaustion (that will come when I return home), but as I said good-bye and wished them well for today, I remembered, with tears in my eyes and a tug at my heart, just what they were going through – in their minds and in their hearts. I realized that, regardless of what a memorable, meaningful day our team has today, it will not even begin to measure up to the memorable, meaningful day this couple will have. They may be exhausted, they may be sick with nervousness, but today they will hold their son.