Thursday, October 23, 2008

More about our son, Levi.

We've finally given this little guy a name so that we can call him something besides "this little guy." Introducing....Levi Jeong- Wook Gerrard. We really liked the name Levi, but when I looked it up in the baby book and found that it means "United as one" - we felt it was meant to be. We ARE praying this for our son. We are praying to be united with him as his "forever family."

We were talking about names around the dinner table and we were tossing up a couple of names - one of them being "Levi". An old friend of Steve's called to congratulate us on our new addition, and the kids and I continued with our dinner talk while he was distracted. Ben decided that we should take a vote on names. (He's been learning about elections at school!) Ben and I voted for Levi and Ella voted for the other name, Gabriel. "I know that Daddy would vote for Gabriel." I said. Ella realized that it meant it was tied 2 - 2. She said "If I switch my vote to Levi, that means the baby's name is Levi?? Then I switch it to Levi, 3 - 1, Levi wins!!" While I told the kids that daddy and I would discuss and make the final call, they were already calling him Levi!

Many of you have asked the following questions - and we know there will be many more.

1) Do you know anything about Levi besides his name & stats?
Well, we know that he's very, very cute! :) But fortunately...we do know more. We know his background, both social and medical. We will receive up to date photos and reports in a couple of weeks. We are told that he is a good sleeper (Yeah!), and although we are uncertain about his eating patterns, we know that he has been steadily gaining weight - which is a great sign. We also know that he was born in the city of Incheon, the 3rd largest city in S. Korea. We've attached a map so you can see where it is. His Korean name (Jeong Wook) means "to grow up brightly, firm of character, like the morning sun." We've read all of his development as of months, and it seems to be perfectly on target. On 8/14, at 4 months he weighed a whopping 14 lbs!

2) Do you plan on keeping his Korean heritage?
Yes! In the same way that we embrace our Argentinian heritage, we will embrace our new Korean heritage as well. We are cannot help ourselves, but to learn all about Korea! As we learn about Korea, we learn about our son. Ben & Ella think it's awesome that Korean's show gratitude by burping at the end of the meal! They would like to bring in that part of Levi's culture...but we have overruled them on that one. It has been fun and interesting to explore a new culture, and we are grateful for the opportunity. We are also keeping his Korean name as his middle name. We feel that is important, since it will have been his name for his first 10 - 11 months.

3) Will you travel to Korea to meet Levi?
No. Levi will travel with an escort here to JFK airport in NYC where we will meet him. He will have been traveling for 30+ hours when he gets here, as well as will have a 13 hour time difference (so night is day and day is night). We are thankful that we will be rested and able to give him careful attention those first few days and nights. We will receive a "travel call" about 48 hours before he will arrive. At this time, we expect for our entire family to travel to NYC (with a friend to care for our other kids and take photos), but we know that many people make last minute changes. We are open to changing once we know information. Please pray that this goes as smoothly as possible. We hear from others who have made this trip, that it is a crazy, overwhelming and amazing process.

4) Will Steve take time off of work?
Most definitely. Our biggest challenge those first few weeks will be bonding with Levi. This is no small task, and it will take hard work. We are under strict orders to keep Levi out of crowds and away from visitors for about 2 weeks. Steve or I will need to provide for his needs those 2 weeks so that he begins to trust us as his providers. Steve faces unique challenges, as many Korean children are not used to being cared for by men, so he will have to make extra efforts to spend time bonding with Levi in that precious first week. So - this would be a great time to tell you to PLEASE not be offended if we limit our time with you in those first days and weeks. We understand that there will be a lot of people who want to meet him, and we promise to make him available to you as soon as we can, but we are boldly asking to have the freedom to do what we hope will bring long term benefits.

5) Why adoption from Korea?
Adoption is a personal choice. A calling. Once we started down the road of adopting, we have felt without question, that this is
our calling. How we discovered that calling is another blog altogether, but we already cannot imagine life without our little Levi in our hearts, and we know that we will feel that way even more when home with us...

We found Korea quite by accident and we have fallen in love with this adoption program. The babies from Korea live with loving foster families (instead of in orphanages), and they get great medical care. We considered other programs, and kept ruling them out, one by one, either because we didn't meet the age requirements (when I say we - I do mean Steve) :), we couldn't make the travel commitment (for some countries, it was as much as 8 weeks), or the wait times were very long. We found out about Love the Children through a friend of a friend...and we knew right away that we had found the right agency for us.

6)How is your process so short?
We feel very, very blessed. When we started the process, we thought if we had an adopted child in a year, we'd consider ourselves very lucky. But, when we discovered Love the Children, we began to hear that their wait times were much shorter. Feeling that this was "too good to be true", I inquired about it. Love the Children, we realized is more than just an adoption agency. In fact, with it's small staff, it minimal advertising and it's no hassle process, it doesn't seem like an agency at all. They have kept to a minimum their administrative costs for the placement of children so that all possible funds, donations and contributions are directed toward the support of Eastern Child Welfare Center. Eastern Social Welfare Society is in Seoul, and not only places adopted children, but has facilities for expectant mothers, handicapped children and schools with grades kindergarten through high school. Love the children, together with the support of their generous contributors, have been able to aid Eastern in building the Love the Children Hospital and Esther's House (home for unwed mothers) and have also provided supplies, medicines, vans, medical and other equipment. Love the Children, in this way, becomes more of an extension of the Korean agency. Since 1978, Love the Children has placed over 4,000 children from Korea in US homes. We are honored to be one of them.

More to come...

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Hee! So the Jewish baby name books came in handy after all!

I'm very impressed with how much care and thought you have put into these issues, Angie.

Best to you all!