It’s time to close the curtains

22 Mar

This has been on my mind for so long – saying goodbye.

I have been writing this blog for 2 years and when I first started, I still thought I was going to be matched with a 6 month old baby. Praise the GOOD Lord he had other plans for me.

When we started moving forward with our process to bring Cora home, this was my safe place. My place where I could put out the hard – plunking it out on the keyboard – letting it go with each plunk, plunk, plunk.

This was my place where I could write through tears, write through red-faced anger and when I couldn’t get out of the big funk or fear that I was never going to bring my child home, this was the place I could share just that. And how happy I am that I can look back and see where we’ve gone – how we’ve grown and have each memory that I would have forgotten.

Along the way, we’ve met really great people through this blog.  Amazing kind people living in Korea (Jason) and Koreans living in America (Minna) who offered their love and support and encouragement.  Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.  I pray that one day I can look back and see that while I had made so many mistakes, Cora will know she is Korean-American.

I still struggle with the loss she has suffered and will suffer when she is old enough to see what she has lost. I still struggle with the fact that no matter what we do, how much we do, we will never be what she should have had in her birth country.  No matter how many semesters we sign up for Korean language school or the fact that we have the Korean TV network so she can watch her cartoons (and really? Poong-poong-i?? She loves it!) she will never be the bilingual child we wish for her. How could she be with us as her parents.

I struggle with balancing it all so that she doesn’t miss out on anything all while knowing she’s missing out on everything. It is the reality of adoption. That heart-wrenching yet beautiful thing that I have yet to figure out how to balance emotions.  When you love someone SO much but you know that in a perfect world, she wouldn’t be my daughter. Balancing that reality. Loving her and hating the hurt.  It’s hard! Harder, harder, harder than I ever thought it would be.

But I see her now, almost 1 year home, and I see how much SHE has grown.  She is confident, funny, smart, loving, kind.  She is amazing. She is strong and sweet and truly is going to blow MINDS when she is grown. She is my daughter – my princess, my 딸, my pretty little girl, my love.

Long gone are the days where I learned how to do anything with her on my back.

When we celebrated the hint of letting daddy in – even if it was just for a second.

From when she spent hours playing with playdough our first week home, not for fun, but to shut out her reality. Oh, this kills my heart.thick6

From when her face showed this emotion.

These days, she’s too busy being the mommy. Something she said she didn’t want to be until the past couple of months.  Every time we talked about “when you’re a mommy…” she would said, “I don’t want to be a mommy.”

She does now.

And now, at one year home and will children who are 11, 8 and 6 (in 3 weeks), I feel that we need to close the curtains now. We have classmates and teachers and friends and family who, at this point, don’t really need to know how Cora is adjusting or how Logan and Miles are adjusting or what is hard or what is still lingering from 5 years in an orphanage because they see her in a different light – as just Cora! Sweet, sassy little Cora.

Not Cora who has gone through all of what she has gone through and continues to go through, but Cora who runs down the hallway in school with a smile on her face ready to talk to anyone she can.

Just Cora.

What a blessing.

So thank you for blessing me with listening to my ramblings on orphanage life, English language learning and digging myself out of the ditch.

I’m not in the ditch anymore.  I’m in the car with the windows down and the sun shining in my eyes as I sing along to the music.

Oh sure, life has its moments, but I bet yours does, too.  It is about life’s moments now, and very rarely are they about “adoption moment”s or “orphanage moments” or “attaching moments”.  Of course I know we’re not free from those moments, but they are getting easier to spot before they start, easier to work through once they pop up.

And yes, I’m afraid for Cora sometimes when I think of her medical future, but I know I’m not the only one who has a child they are worried about.  The more days, doctors appointments and life that comes between the diagnosis and where we are now makes it easier to swallow and dare I say, has become our normal. 6 sedations in 10 months will do that to you.

And I hesitate stopping blogging completely because I know there are special people who stop by here – people who knew and cared for Cora in Korea who want to see how she has grown or how she is doing in life, so I ask you, if you are one of those people who care about Cora please send me a message and we will connect in other ways. (Please.)

I’m not saying that I’m never going to post here again, but I’m not planning on it any time soon.  I still have posts that I never got a chance to write, such as the post I had planned where I fully admit to internally mocking mothers of girls who wore jewelry, tiaras and tutu’s with a purse hanging on her arm to the grocery store.  I thought it was YOUR doing.  I made fun of you in my mind.

It’s not you. I know that now.

I’m sorry. 🙂

Or the post where Cora got in trouble at school when the substitute thought she said a naughty word, but actually she was just saying 2:00 in Hangul. (GRRR!!!)

Or the post where I shared her first real birthday pictures, even though our first day as a family was her 5th birthday and completely not a celebratory type of birthday. More of a ‘omg what are we doing!?’ birthday.

And the father-daughter dance that is coming up.

And the post that shares my heartache that Cora now signs her papers at school as just Cora and not Cora 김승주. Boo hoo.

And the fact that I led the high school ministry on Romans 8:15-17 this week and shared how we are all adopted into God’s family. It was powerful and scary and I loved it and would do it again in a second.

And a recap when I go into the school later this spring to share sun-safety to the kids at my kids school and possibly contacting the other schools in my city to talk to their kids, too. (oh poor Logan, my dear. The other two are all, “Will you come to my room!” and he’s all, “Mom, PLEASE don’t come to my room.” Darn tweens!)

But this feeling in my heart tells me that it’s time to pull back.  So, perhaps one day I will share those posts someday. Maybe not.

It’s not an easy decision.  I’m a freelance writer and write every day about things that aren’t my heart.  This is a place where I wrote about my heart. And you listened and encouraged. So thank you.

And though I don’t like to do this kind of “leave a message” request, I would love to hear from you in a comment if you feel led to share one.

We’re doing well.  We’ve crossed the big ocean of the first year and God was our life jacket.  This was the hardest 2 years of my life, but we’ve resurfaced.  I see three kids now.

And if you’ve adopted, or even given birth, you know how things much be juggled when new child comes home because new child needs more.  We’re at that point where new child is just child now and we’re settling in, doing our best to give all three children what they need.

Blessed. So very blessed.


16 Responses to “It’s time to close the curtains”

  1. Rain March 22, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    I have SO enjoyed following your journey with Cora, but I totally understand the need to move on. I’m not sure I could have kept up a blog like this, opening my family up to the world in the way you did. I can see this blog helping a lot of hopeful parents out there! ❤

    • Jen March 22, 2013 at 3:16 am #

      Thanks Rain. I didn’t really know you were following so this is a nice surprise. Redhead Chias unite. 😉

  2. Tracy Matheson March 22, 2013 at 3:48 am #

    Not sure I can type through the tears. I have so enjoyed your journey to Cora and watching her blossom before my very eyes. There can be no doubt that precious Cora is exactly where God intended…from the moment He knew her! Who knew that seeing her as “just Cora” would mean so much! Well done, my friend! You are blessed indeed. I do hope you will continue to write…about whatever is stirring in your heart.

    • Jen March 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm #


      Thank you for always encouraging me. I know you had a heart for Cora from your own Amsa journey. What a blessing it is to know that you all loved her and prayed for her when I didn’t even know I was going be adopting, period. You have blessed my life and my daughter’s life so much. xoxo!

  3. Dan/성진 오빠 March 22, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    Thanks. For everything. As a now adult adoptee who has both struggled and shined in the sphere that is the Korean-American adoptee community, I am utterly humbled by you. I truly believe that God has worked through you to bless so many. Reading this last post, reading your story leading to here, and having the privelage to know you and your family is such a blessing. I cannot express my gratitude in words for people like you and your family, who take in children like me. You truly share God’s unconditional, everlasting love.
    I often think about my birthmother, how I’ll never be able to repay her for the grace she’s given me. But too rarely, I forget to tell my mom how much I love her, how much she means to me, and how thankful I am for what she’s done, the things she’s given up, and the truly amazing person she is. At the last word of your blog, the tears started flowing down my face as I realized how blind I have been. I hope Cora grows up to know just how blessed she is, and if she’s anything like me (pray that she’s not!) I pray that she is able to comprehend half of the grace and love that she has received from her birthmother, her orphanage, God, and of course, you guys, her loving family.
    And to my amazing little 여동생, 승주 하나님께서 사랑받기 위해 태어난 사람이야. These are the words from my favorite Korean Church song, “You were born to be loved”. Through all that is to come -trust me, it’s a long road- may you never for a second forget that you are God’s wonderful creation, and that you were made to be a blessing to all those around you, and to be loved by so many people.
    I could keep going on and on, but that’s enough tears for one night. God bless you and your family.

    • Jen March 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

      Oh, Dan. This made me cry this morning. So much love to you. We are so honored to know you and care about you. (And we do. Very much.)

      “I cannot express my gratitude in words for people like you and your family, who take in children like me.”

      We’re all children like you – every one of us. But I know it’s not what you meant. And while I will never TRULY know what it is to be a “child like you”, I know what it is to love a “child like you”. And I can tell you that as a parent, I am far, far more blessed that Cora is. And I bet your mom would tell you the same. The parents win here.

      And what YOU said about your mom, you should tell her. Not that she needs any thanking, because I pray to God that Cora never feels she needs to thank me for anything and I bet your mom feels the same, but because your mom would be blessed to hear it.

      (And psst! If any of my three children are as wise and graceful and full of morals and values like you when they are your age, I, and the rest of the world, will be blessed, as the world is by you, friend.)

      Thank YOU for blessing our lives, my friend. Thank you for being an awesome Oppa to my children. You have a place in our family.

  4. Leese March 22, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    I’ve enjoyed the part of your journey I’ve gotten to follow and pray for you guys on. I hope you do decide to pop in once in awhile and post again – God just shines through your words!

    I also understand the need to step back from blogging. I had blogged privately for years and years, and finally, with a lot of urging (from others and God) started blogging publicly last year. But then my health went downhill and I just needed a break – I could hardly come up with words for in person with my closest of friends, let alone the blogosphere. Yet it’s also so therapeutic…and so after a break, I’m back. And it’s good for me to do in this season, and from some emails I’ve gotten, it seems God’s used some of it for good for some others, too. Which is both incredibly humbling and terrifying. Interestingly, it’s seemed to have been even moreso after having stepped away for a time.

    I know I’m not alone in saying God’s used your blog as well in the lives of others – as much as it was probably good for you to “use” along the way. I hope that in some form…whether here as part of Cora’s journey more directly…or a new blog down the road (that you let some of us here who have journeyed a bit with you in on to know about!) that God does the same with you and uses your words once again.

    In the meantime, know that I’m one of (I’m sure countless others) who haven’t really said much, but have rooted you on and prayed for your family from afar! May God richly bless you as your family continues forward and may you see His gifts of grace along the road!

    • Jen March 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      Dear Leese,

      Thank you. Thank you for your words and your prayers for my family and the blessings you are giving from your blog. I will pray for your health to make a road uphill. I am sorry that you have been struggling. I’m going to bookmark your blog. Your message here has blessed me! xoxo!!

  5. soundtek March 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I will be so sad if you do quit blogging… its fun to watch the adoption process, but as another adoptive mom, its more encouraging to watch the process after youve home awhile, so I know Im not the only one going through things. I wish yall the best.

    • Jen March 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm #


      Yes, I agree. I love it when families continue to encourage through the telling of their story. But we’re at this place where it feels right to stop. To start focusing on us as a family of 5 instead of a family that recently brought home #5. And in doing that, this phase must end. And in all honesty, the blog-o-sphere doesn’t need another family blog. 😉 😉

      You’re definitely NOT the only one going through what you’re going through. ((Hugs to you)) Do you blog? Can I follow you?

      From one adoptive mom to another, we can do this. Life is bumpy and rocky and full of ditches, but we’ve got it! Hang on!

  6. Hyosun Ro March 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    Oh no, I don’t get to see Cora growing up anymore? But, I totally understand and respect your decision, Jen. It’s been such a joy to follow you and read about your amazing family. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a post. I feel like I’ve known you guys for a long time. In fact, I’ve secretly adopted Cora as my virtual niece and been hoping to actually meet her and family one day in person. I’d like to be included if you figure out some way to connect with the people who care about Cora. I have no doubt Cora will grow up as one GREAT Korean-American! How can she not when she has you guys as parents! Your love is powerful, and Cora is truly blessed!

    • Jen March 24, 2013 at 1:45 am #

      And YOU, Hyosun! I missed your name. You are one of those amazing people who have offered support and kindness. (I shared your blog with my other Korean-Adoption moms!) Thank you for your love. Cora can absolutely be your virtual niece! 🙂 🙂 I have your email, so we’ll connect. xoxo! Many blessings to you!!

  7. Sharon March 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Hi Jen,
    I am the parent of two boys from Korea. I also survived the EP shortage as my youngest came home in October 2011. I “met” you, if you will, on the Holt board, but I am a particularly quiet member of the Holt board even before IT became quiet so I’m not sure you would necessarily recognize me from there. I have enjoyed reading about your heart for the last several years because you give voice to many of the feelings I have in mine. I will miss reading your blog, but just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I wish you and your family well. Maybe I’ll “see” you around in one of the FB groups.

  8. Jason March 28, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    Hi Jen,

    Jason here from Korea. I apologize for not leaving comments more often even though I have been reading your blogs despite being busy.

    If you need anything from Korea or need my help, just holler. I am here.

    Thank you and your family for all the love you have shown.

    God Bless!


  9. Sheila March 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Jen, your Mom has shared your posts with me and I have been following your blog. As you know David was adopted and I can relate to some of your struggles. I am so happy that Cora has found the loving family that she deserves.God Bless You, Sheila

  10. Minna April 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm #


    Thank you for sharing Cora’s story, your story, your family’s story with all of us. My family and I truly appreciate your candidness, your loving heart, and the blessing of sharing your lives with us. My aunt, my entire family, actually, ask about Cora all the time and want me to translate your stories 😉 We are grateful that Cora is growing, flourishing, and thriving in your home, and that God has truly blessed all of these relationships through this one little girl. We are praying for you and your husband, your kids, and Cora, and we believe that God will continue to bless you always.

    We just watched the video below of her asking about the tooth fairy. She is so adorable, and it’s STILL amazing to see how much she has changed! She is a big girl now, full of words and questions and love, and I can’t imagine her in a better home with a better family.

    If possible, we would love to keep in touch with you and your family. I will explain to my aunt your decision to be a little more private now, but I know that she will be grateful of that protection as well.

    Blessings to you and your family, Jen! Hopefully one day, we will all be able to meet and celebrate Cora’s wonderful life. 🙂


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