We knew for a long time we wanted to build our family through adoption. The only question was when and how?
We did a lot of research into both domestic and international programs and started the process to adopt from South Korea in 2010. Seven years and two adoptions later, our beautiful children, Alexander Jaemin and Samantha Yeona, are the lights of our lives!
We will never forget the moments when we first saw their photos or when we met them for the first time. We adopted 5-year-old Alex from South Korea through The Barker Adoption Foundation/Social Welfare Society (SWS is Barker’s partner agency in South Korea) in 2013. We completed our family when we brought now 22-month-old Samantha home to the United States in August 2017, also through Barker/SWS.
Life is crazy these days but in the best of ways. We are all finally settled into our family-of-four routine, and it’s wonderful to be together. We were very fortunate to be able to stay in Korea for 35 days while Samantha’s adoption process was finalized; most families take two one-week trips about a month apart, as we did during Alex’s adoption. Korea is an amazing place to visit. We are so proud both of our children have Korean heritage, and Korean culture is a prominent element of the fabric of our family.
During our stay, we enjoyed museums, landmarks, parks, markets, and of course, restaurants! Alex loved getting to explore his birth country and to visit with his foster family. We were able to visit our son’s birth city and even met the doctor who delivered him! It was an unforgettable and emotional experience. Also wonderful was our experience working with Barker and SWS during the adoption of both Alex and Samantha. The agencies both focus on the best interests of children.
An amazing network of foster parents helps the children receive the best care, emotionally, physically, and medically while they are in Korea. While there are ups and downs in every adoption (ask us about the 14-hour plane ride home from Seoul with Samantha and the days of toddler jet lag afterward!), we were fortunate to have received comprehensive training before, during, and after each adoption, that helped us prepare for both the process and parenting, especially transracially. It is comforting to know we have a support network waiting as our children grow, have questions to be answered, or even to begin a birth family search.
Through our agency, we have become friends with other adoptive families with Korean children, and it’s wonderful to spend time with families like ours.
Adoption starts with hardship and tragedy. Our children’s birth families are often on our minds and we respect them for making the very difficult decisions they made to ensure their babies would have bright futures. Often, people will see us with our children and remark on how “lucky” they are to have found a caring adoptive family. But we are quick to respond with “No, we are the lucky ones.” And that’s the truth.
The Barker Adoption Foundation, based just outside Washington, DC, is committed to the idea that all children deserve a safe, loving and permanent home. As the 4th oldest adoption agency in the country, Barker provides life-long adoption-related services and robust educational programs, partnering with all members of the adoption circle in a manner that’s respectful, ethical, and compassionate. In addition to Barker’s Domestic Infant and older child adoption (“Project Wait No Longer”) programs, Barker currently has International Adoption Programs in China, Colombia, India, and Korea. Barker’s China Waiting Children program focuses on finding devoted families across the United States for children who are older, or with known medical needs, ranging from minor, correctable conditions, to more severe and/or permanent conditions. After an adoption is finalized, our department of Family and Post-Adoption Services provides comprehensive guidance and education to birth parents, adoptive parents and adopted persons including counseling, parenting workshops, support groups, an annual conference and more.