Airplane Day is that very special day - April 30, 1988 - when our boys finally arrived in the United States. We traveled to Philadelphia International Airport to pick them up. What a trip that was!!! Mom and Daddy went with us and Daddy drove a full size van that a friend loaned him for the occasion. I had my recently learned Korean vocabulary in my head and Andy had his English/Korean dictionary in his pocket. We were soon to become parents to two children who were 4 and 5 years of age and spoke no English.
Two Korean escorts came with our boys and two babies. They spoke very little English but knew enough to tell us if they'd been sick during the trip. It was a long trip for them - 22 hours. They had traveled from Seoul, South Korea to San Francisco, California to Detroit, Michigan and finally to Philadephia, Pennsylvania. They were hot and tired.
I had packed two drawstring bags - one for each of them - and filled them with goodies. There was a flashlight, a little stuffed dog and a stuffed cat, a magnetic erase board, and a Matchbox car in each bag. I remember Mom, Brian, I reached the van first. I got one of the bags, opened it and closed it again and gave it to him telling him that it was for him. He opened it, just as I had demonstrated, and looked inside. He gave me the first of many glorious smiles and promptly asked if I had one for his brother. I handed him the one for Taylor and he ran to meet Daddy, Andy, and Taylor. He went through the demonstration of opening and closing the bag just as I had showed him and gave it to Taylor and told him that it was for him.
It was all smiles and giggles after that. They checked out our ears, mouths, and up our noses with the flashlights. They told us the Korean words and we told them the English ones. We ate at Burger King that night and learned that the social worker who told us they would want bland foods to eat was wrong. That night, we slept with one eye open watching them and wondering what would happen next. Since they were used to only sleeping on the floor, we spent a great deal of time during the night catching them before they hit the floor as they rolled out of bed.
As a parent, I've learned quite a lot. The first thing I learned was that I'd never be on time again! Just when you're ready to leave home, a child sticks his foot with shoe on - in this case, the only shoe he had - under the water faucet to see what would happen. Another thing I've learned is that you will look back and wish you could have a "redo" on some things.
The most important thing I've learned as a parent is that you do your very best to be the person you want your children to be. That to me sums it up.
When we received the referral picture above a few months earlier with the question "Will you accept these boys?", my world changed. There they were with signs hanging around their necks with their Korean names, birthdates, and orphanage identifying numbers on them. They were the most beautiful children I'd ever seen!
That Airplane Day - April 30, 1988 - was the day I became a mother. Or, rather I became an Omah, Korean for mother. My life has been made SO much richer than I could have ever imagined. I wish I could turn back time and do it all again.
But, there are no "do-overs". So, it's on to the next chapter. I'm now an Omah and a Holmonee (grandmother in Korean).
And, it all started on that Airplane Day - April 30, 1988.
Happy Airplane Day, Brian and Taylor!!!!
Love you, Omah!
(In the referral picture, Brian (oldest) is on the left and Taylor is on the right. In the other pictures, Brian is on the right and Taylor is on the left.)