Okay, family court turned out to be really great! I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so worried, but it was really, really great. We woke early, had breakfast, played some games and then headed over to Holt early.
Because we were supposed to be there by 2pm, I didn’t want to take any chances that the taxi driver would get lost and take too much time and we thought we’d just head over to the Mecenatpolis mall and have lunch and a smoothie before hand. After a near accident with another taxi (within one inch), we were on our way and I was glad I thought to leave early because something might happen along the way right? All is fine and I’m feeling good about our decision…for a bit. Kai took some of these pics, btw:-)
Once we got there, I was regretting this right away because it felt like it was 90+ fahrenheit out and I was wearing a suit and this is an outdoor mall. We found some lunch and smoothies in mildly air conditioned stores but still the walk to and fro were hot especially with a hot 4 year that sweats a lot and wants to be carried when he’s tired and did I mention hot!
Back to Holt, and to gather with the other Holt families and pile into a van for a nice cozy, warm;-) ride to the courts. We had some more great conversation with some new friends along the way too.
Here we are in front of the court.
We waited inside for awhile where it was very hot. Korea is a very eco friendly country and there is a national campaign to keep energy consumption down so even inside the waiting areas and inside the court is was HOT! And it was one of the few times we didn’t think to bring some beverages with us. Even our hotel has a sign up about it being warmer in public gathering areas in order to comply with the national campaign.
Kai was getting a antsy with the hot wait so I broke out the iPad to let him watch Wreck It Ralph only to realize I had forgotten headphones so I had to put it away. Some new friends from Norway came to the rescue though with a little Gameboy (I think) and he and their 5 year old son played games together for awhile. He was great and helped Kai whenever he’d get stuck on a level. Thanks again Dan Andreas and family:-)
In our group of Holt families, we went second. Going in I was a little nervous because Kai was getting antsy again and very wiggly. Quick side note: When we first met Keegan, DJ asked Kai what he will say when the judge asks what he thinks of him. He answered, “He’s a little bit perfect; the little bit is because of the biting part” (he was bit by him a short time before this.) So, on the taxi ride to Holt, we were practicing with Kai again and asked him what he was going to answer to the judge and he replied, “It’s a seeeecret!”. Ummm…I’m sure it’s going to be fine, but I want to know what his creative little mind is coming up with so I ask him if I can guess it and he says yes. So, I try and he replies, “I’m going to say he is 100% perfect and I love him!” Awe, my heart is melting:-) But he wants to surprise DJ. Okay, so now back to our timeline. We get called in and Kai wants to sit on my lap. The setting was quite intimate and comfortable. We sat in a small circle. Me, Christina to my right, then DJ, then a court worker and then the judge and a court reporter on the side of the room. It was as close to sitting and having coffee as it could be without actually having coffee. He asked us some questions most of which we expected and a couple were very specific to our family. No real surprises except for the warmth we felt. He really genuinely cares about the children and our families and that will live with me forever. I want to stop for a moment and say how great DJ is! She’s been so helpful and she, the staff here in Korea, the staff in Oregon and PA/NJ have also been a blessing for us. So, for those that don’t know, DJ is translating for us during this court hearing. Okay, back to our story. So, he turns to Kai and asks, what do you think about your little brother and are you happy? Kai sits up, leans forward and replies, “He’s perfect, and I’m happy!”. I teared up instantly. I am so proud and struck by his maturity, attentiveness (even though he was wiggly leading up to this question) and his directness. He really seemed to understand how important this was for our family and mostly, I really think he decided for himself this is important for him and Keegan. It was amazing! The judge really loved him too. Then Kai interrupted and said “I can help answer more questions Daddy”. I said, maybe there will be another question for you but for right now, the questions are for mommy and daddy. So, a couple questions later the judge asks about our families and will they be happy about our new son joining our family, and before either of us could answer, Kai yells out, “OH YEAH!”. It got quite a laugh and again I’m tearing up both then and now while writing about it. So the judge says we clearly have been doing a great job raising Kai and he’s going to finalize our adoption and smiled very big for us and gave Kai some high fives, fist bumps and shook his hand:-) It was a great moment for our family and I’ll never forget a single second of it. So, it looks like we’ll be returning in 2-3 weeks to take custody of Keegan immediately and work through the visa process! We can’t wait and we may even come back a couple days early because there’s somewhere here we want to take Kai before we get Keegan.
So, after everyone was done (and I heard a lot of great experiences were had), we all (almost all) walked to a nice coffee shop to get some refreshments to cool off and celebrate together. Here we are walking over to the coffee shop.
And a post court magic trick by a new friend:
Post Court Magic Trick and Coffee – small – Wi-Fi
And, a few of us decided (a few weeks ago) to go out for dinner to celebrate together. So, after searching for a long time for somewhere that had Galbi (so Kai would eat), we finally chose somewhere and had a great dinner. Yes, I ate Kimchi:-) And Kai ate almost everything (no Kimchi but he did taste the flavor of it and said it was good but a very wild spicy taste!