Desi is Now a Doherty

It’s been two whole months since I’ve written anything at all about our journey to Desi, and when I go back and read the last post just days before hopping on a plane to South Korea for the first time, I’m stunned at how different the woman who wrote those words has become in such a short period of time. If I were to have a conversation with that woman and try to explain what the next two months would bring, she wouldn’t believe me, and to be honest, I wouldn’t know what to say. Even now, I struggle to grasp at many of the special moments and the hundreds of emotions that have skittered past almost without my realizing it. Like fireworks, each day lingered just long enough to see that it happened before the next one pulled my attention away. Lately I’ve found myself flipping through pictures on my phone and wondering to myself, “Did this actually happen? I thought I dreamed this!”

There is no way to explain what it’s like to wake up every single morning knowing the child you have longed for and waited for with a love no one who hasn’t gone through that unbearable wait could understand is home. He’s home. And because he is home, I am finally home. My heart isn’t split in two places as it has been these past two years. And to wake up every morning to him crying for me and reaching for me is a God-given gift and an honor that I never could have possibly deserved. God orchestrated a miracle and I got to be a part of it, and I hope I never lose sight of the gift he has given me as Desi’s mother.

I remember a moment nearly two years ago that seems like an eternity away now. My husband came home from work and found me in the bedroom with five journals filled with notes scattered across the bed, our closet door freshly painted with chalk paint with half a dozen countries listed on it, each with a set of pros and cons and agency contacts. Of course he was curious to know what I was doing to which I simply responded, “God told me our kid is out there somewhere and it’s time to go get him. Now we just have to find out where he is!” And my love for Desi started that very day. Without a clue who or where he was, or what gender and age he would be, even before the day he was born, I loved him just as much as I do in this moment, which I know must be so difficult to believe. God began knitting us together on that very day, and every single event that happened in the two years following was carefully orchestrated to ensure that we would find each other, and begin a life together that we could never have imagined for ourselves back then.

While it will take time to process and explain the many events and adventures that have occurred these past couple of months, I want to at least share a few key moments until I’m able to come back and write about them in more detail.

 

Trip 1: Meeting Desi and Court Date

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Sitting in a coffee shop less than a block away from the agency, trying not to be nervous about meeting our son for the very first time. We sent over a stuffed bear in our first care package, and brought a duplicate during that first visit in hopes that it would establish a connection and help him understand that we were the ones who sent him that bear. 
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There are many words to describe my son, but “shy” certainly is not one of them! He met us at the door and didn’t let us out of his sight for a minute. 
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While this picture warms by heart in so many ways, I find this picture truly captures the love the foster family had for this little guy. Knowing they only had a few more weeks with him, they celebrated his warmth towards us selflessly. We miss these sweet friends terribly. 
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Once he got past the beard, Desi warmed up to Matt immediately. I was so relieved that he took to both of us equally as we were warned he would likely choose to attach to one of us and that the other may need to sit on the sidelines for the first six months after bringing him home. So far he has adjusted beautifully and it was evident even in those first few moments together that they would build quite a relationship together. 
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Our first trip ended with a visit to the Korean Family Court where we stood before a judge and explained how dedicated we would be to ensure Desi has a bright and happy future with us, filled with every opportunity the birth mother dreamed of when she made the painful decision to place him for adoption. 

Trip 2: Gotcha Day and Parenthood

Desi officially became a Doherty on April 5, 2017, less than a month after we arrived back home after our court appearance. We were given less than two week’s notice to repack our bags and get right back on a plane to bring home our little boy. Less than twenty-four hours after arriving in Seoul, we found ourselves back at the agency ready to sign the official placement papers and begin the first week of our journey into parenthood in a foreign country.

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Gotcha Day started in the play room where Desi spent his final moments with his foster mother, and where we asked her as many questions  about Desi as we could to help to ease the transition as best we could. I could tell her heart was completely broken but she was strong and held it together for Desi until those final moments when we had to say good-bye. 
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My two boys’ reactions to hearing the adoption was final and it was time to go!
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Watching the elevator doors close forever separating Desi from the only mother he’d ever known was traumatic for all of us to say the least. It was a rough cab ride but we eventually were both able to squeeze a smile out to mark the occasion. 
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Happy Gotcha Day Desi Doherty!
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Our first night together in the hotel, where no sleep was to be had!
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But as the week wore on and we became more familiar with one another, sleep would come. 
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Exploring the country my son is from with him at our side was an opportunity that will not come again for a long, long time, so we explored as much as we could in the limited time we had left in Korea. 
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Finally beginning to feel like we have a grasp on this parenting thing!
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At the top of North Seoul Tower is a series of fences completely covered in love locks. We left our own lock there to mark our new forever family with Desi D!

The Flight Home and A New Beginning:

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23 hours of flying with a toddler is every parent’s nightmare, but with a lot of prayer, a lot of puffs, and a little melatonin, we somehow survived the three flights home where Desi officially became an American citizen!
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After being greeted by an amazing group of family and friends at the airport, we finally crawled into the car and drove the last few minutes home, where a new and even more exciting adventure would begin. 
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