(continued from the last post)
T and I left the H01t office shortly after the foster mother, carrying Munchkin in the baby carrier they provided. Munchkin didn't cry. In fact, he smiled and cooed and was charming the entire walk back to the Guesthouse and for our entire first hour.
But then all hell broke loose. Munchkin started wailing, for 2 hours straight. He screamed so loud his voice was hoarse. We could not figure out what was wrong. Diaper? Bottle? Wants to be held more closely? Wants to be rocked? Doesn't like being with strangers? Missing his foster mom?
Maybe this was a huge mistake. I still felt the foster mother's grief surround me. I had no idea what to do. I felt so inept. At that moment I wished that someone else would come take care of this kid. Maybe I was not cut out for being a mother. Maybe infertility was nature's way of telling me that, and I had stupidly and brazenly ignored it.
And then we remembered his foster mother said Munchkin liked baths. So, as a last resort, we plunked him in the baby bath. And all of a sudden he stopped crying.
It was then we realized that poor Munchkin was completely overheated. He was sweating. A lot. He was dressed for subway rides and outside walks in freezing degree weather, and we had kept him that way for an hour in a 70 degree bedroom.
Grade for First Test as Parents: D-.
After that it was smooth sailing. All bottles were consumed diligently. He was even courteous enough to sleep through the night!
Munchkin smiled and laughed and cuddled and seemed to take to us right away. He did not seem to miss his foster family. And this is still true. He is friendly and happy with basically everyone. After 4 weeks of being by his side every waking moment, I am still not sure he has any preference for me over anyone else.
I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Being flirtatious and charming with everyone might mean that he is not attached to anyone, which would make it harder for him to evenutally attach to me and T. But maybe he's just too young to remember anyone or anything when they are not in his immediate view. Some say that of object permanence -- understanding that an object is still there even if it is temporarily out of view -- does not happen until babies are 8 to 9 months old.
Anyway, back to Korea...
Typically, H01t wants you to take custody of your child while you are on your way to the airport. Yup, you heard that right. They want you to take custody and then immediately hop on a transpacific flight with a child you do not even know. They even pack an in-flight diaper bag (full of diaper, formula, and wipes) for you to take with you.
H01t likes to do this because of legal and liability concerns. While in Korea, the legal guardian of the child is still H01t Korea. But once the baby enters his new country, then the adoptive parents become the legal guardians.
But we opted to not return right away, but to spend two additional days in Seoul in the Guesthouse, and fly home on Sunday. H01t agreed, provided we did not leave Seoul or do extensive sightseeing. They wanted us to stick close to the Guesthouse with the baby.
And so we spent the next two days teaching ourselves how to mix formula, give baby baths, change diapers, change baby clothes, trim baby fingernails, use the baby carrier, and make Munchkin smile. We only left the Guesthouse once -- to take the baby to a nearby park by the river and take some photos.
In case you were wondering, we had gone grocery shopping at the Hypermarket the day before and thus had enough food for 2 days. And for Munchkin, H01t gave us 6 days worth of Korean formula. The H01t Guesthouse has a complete kitchen you can use.
And then at last Sunday came. Our van picked us up, transported us to the airport. We checked in, did our first diaper change in a public restroom, boarded the flight, did our first poopy diaper change (which was MASSIVE) during wicked turbulence in the tiny airplane bathroom, and tried to keep Munchkin entertained or napping on the flight.
He was a great baby. No crying. If Munchkin is in the baby carrier, close against you, he is in heaven and doesn't fuss at all.
After 13 hours, we landed, went through the "New Immigrants" line at San Francisco airport and turned over the big, sealed, "do not open" envelope of documents we had been given at the US Embassy earlier that week.
And that was it. He was now ours.
And he has been a delight. I felt emotionally terrible on Friday when we took custody. But each day after that I felt better. By Tuesday, I was walking on cloud 9. I was completely in love with Munchkin.
That said, Munchkin is a very easy baby to love. He is totally easy-going and smiles all the time. He is curious and energetic (but not TOO energetic). He loves hanging out in the baby carrier all day long. He loves snuggling and being close. He eats well, sleeps well (through the night except for 3 or 4 nights), and is developmentally ahead of his age by about a month.
And after evaluation by a US doctor, we've confirmed that his congenital heart condition has healed and disappeared (not unusual for a baby under one year of age). Munchkin now has a perfectly normal heart and he is thriving. He is 18 lbs 6 oz at one week shy of 6 months. He has chubby cheeks, a jelly belly, and crazy hair that always sticks straight up in the air. He coos and giggles when he wakes in the morning, and he roars like a little baby lion when he's playing. His bliss is when you bounce him in your lap or fly him around the room like an airplane.
I am in heaven. I am a mother, at last. And it is so wonderful to see T as a father. He is wonderful. It is a side of him I did not know and it is so sweet.
It was all worth it. All of it. If I had to do it all over again, I'd do every damn failed cycle, lose both my tubes to ectopics, and wait 5 long years, as long as my Munchkin was at the end of the struggle.
And that's it. Our saga, our seemingly never-ending quest to become parents, is over. We now begin a new journey, as parents, as a family.
And now for the photo, which will only be up for an extremely limited time (as in 12 hours or less):(((Photo has been taken down due to privacy concerns, sorry.)))