It took 685 days in the making but we finally got to meet our Luca-bear for the first time a few weeks ago. We were allowed 2 meetings, each being about an hour so it was a bit nerve-wrecking to think about how to make the most of our time. Our agency gave us some advice in advance to bring items that would involve engaging our son with us such as balloons, bubbles, stickers, etc. That way he would have to come to us in order to play and we could have some real face-time together.
When the day finally came we had all of our gifts for the foster family, social worker, staff and Luca in hand…and off we went to the agency. We got there pretty early and ended up drinking coffee in the agency’s cafe with our other friends who are adopting as well. We were very giddy and having a good time when our social worker walked in and told us Luca arrived early. We were very flustered at how fast the time came, grabbed our things and followed our social worker up the stairs. And that’s when I heard his tiny little voice at the end of the hallway for the very first time.
Luca ran down the hallway, extremely excited to see us before briefly hesitating right in front of me and then ultimately giving me a little hug. It was honestly a bit funny to me how fast he ran and then that little pause he made because I pretty much felt the same way when seeing him too. It’s like, all this time we’ve gotten to know each other through pictures and then seeing each other in the flesh had this strange familiarity amongst us yet still an unfamiliarity as well. I can’t really describe the feeling except that it’s a mixture between shock and pure joy. And when it was E’s turn to get a hug…my heart melted into a million pieces.
Luca’s foster mom did an amazing job preparing him about us. She said he wakes up every morning and says “good morning” to our picture and even carries a picture of us with her in her purse. He called us “umma” and “appa” (mom and dad) pretty quickly in the meeting, of course it was a bit prompted but nonetheless truly special. He loved playing with the hubs, as E is very hands on and picked him up and made Luca laugh from the get-go. We played with balloons, stickers, and I brought a Pororo camera that he pretended to take pictures of us with. The shyness wore off about fifteen or so minutes in and he was running around and having a great time . In most of his updates to us, they would describe Luca as “busy” so we knew that was probably code for him being active and were prepared for this. He definitely was! Haha:) But he also had a sweet side to him where he came and snuggled up to us a few times throughout the hour.
The time flew by and before we knew it, it was time for Luca and his foster mom to go home. As soon as our social worker said, “okay it’s almost time to go home now” to our little guy, he stopped what he was doing…grabbed his coat and was ready to leave. We started laughing at how fast he stopped what he was doing and our foster mom explained he’s really quick when it comes to preparing to leave somewhere (which is evident if you saw the video I posted of him flying by near the elevator!). We said our goodbyes and then it was over: just.like.that.
So now the weird thing: I ALWAYS cry at the drop of a hat but I did not cry before, during or after our meeting and the hubs and I were shocked. We thought I would be a hot mess and scare Luca for sure but not a single tear was shed. The only thing I can say about that is that I think I was really in some sort of shock that we actually really met this child we have been pursuing for so long. It took a few days for it even to sink in, as the meeting seemed almost like a quick dream that came and went.
A couple of days later, we had our second and final meeting. We could hear Luca screaming “appa” (dad) from the hallway all the way into the room we were waiting in. Seeing how well he plays with E is so great to witness. I think I’m an evident second considering most of the time I spent talking with the foster mom during our first meeting but I’m okay with it. We learned that lots of times, kids tend to favor one parent over the other at first so I was mentally prepared for this too (thank goodness!). The second meeting went really well also and our social worker and foster mom even stepped out of the room for most of it for the three of us to spend time together. Luca was a little trooper while playing with us. He was having a great time but I could also tell he was wondering where his foster mom was a couple of times.
The hour came and went very quickly again this time, but when the social worker asked if Luca was ready to go…he said “no” and that he wanted to stay with us longer. It was so cute and heartwarming but obviously bitter-sweet because he had to go. We walked out of the room together and down the stairs where Luca and his foster mom’s ride was waiting by the door. We said our goodbye’s and they left. But the moment that I have embedded in my brain was seeing my husband follow them out, walk out the door and just watching Luca leave. It’s as if time stood still for a second and in that moment I saw E as a dad for the first time instead of just my husband.
We soon left the agency and said ‘we did it’, we finally met our Luca-bear. I was overjoyed that we got to spend time with our son, but overwhelmed with the realization that we would be apart once again for awhile. It only took a couple of minutes for that to sink in this time and so the inevitable finally happened: I cried…right in the middle of the streets of Seoul.