Seoul 2013 : Meeting Milo

Oh, my. How do I start?! Or where do I start?! How do you sum up meeting the piece of your family that has been missing? I can't. How do you sum up the mix of emotions you feel when you meet a stranger, yet also someone you know through words and images?! I can't. So instead… a very detailed, perhaps a bit boring at times, report of our meeting...

We loaded into the van, and were told that we would have about an hour drive, so we settled in and we even convinced Spencer to put his head on my lap and sleep. It was funny how different this trip was than the trip to meet Spencer. We were so calm. There was no anxiety, no nerves. (This may have had to do with the plea I put on Facebook regarding our nerves and anxiety. The power of positive thoughts and prayers kicked in big time.) There was a little excitement… but mostly a lot of "I wonder"s. It was as though we were in this suspended state, but still very peaceful.

About fifty minutes later, the van pulled over and our social worker turned around and said "We're here!" We rousted Spencer, who was quick to wake once we said, "It's time to go meet Milo!" We walked into a nice apartment building and climbed some stairs. I think it was three or four flights up? I counted while climbing… but have no recollection anymore. At the landing, we approached a pretty wooden door and our social worker rang the bell. We heard the foster mother walk over, and then we saw her standing there, welcoming us in. We took off our shoes in the foyer while the foster mother fawned over Spencer. Once we entered the apartment, she told us that Milo was still asleep and beckoned us to the bedroom… and… there. he. was. Fast asleep. We all went into the bedroom and took a couple of photos and then the foster mother started to wake him up. Spencer was chomping at the bit at this point. You could literally see him vibrating with excitement and anticipation of playing with his little brother. Milo rolled over, rubbed his eyes, sat up… and looked at the room full of strangers. He handled this strange waking in stride. There were no tears, but just a little bit of shyness where he studied his fingers very intensely. Every few moments, he'd look up… see us all still there… and then look right back down at those fingers! All in all though, we thought he was pretty calm about it. I guarantee you that Spencer would not have waked that calmly in the same position.

Once Milo had his wits about him, he stood up, grabbed my hand, and walked me out to the living room. My heart immediately swelled, and my mind immediately thought, "This will all be fine." I'm not sure I remember what happened next (flying on a hand-holding high and all that), but the next thing I recall is the boys sitting on the ground with a bin of blocks the social worker had brought with her. There were smiles and giggles and teamwork. Right off the bat. Towers were built and knocked down… blocks were thrown… and—shockingly—blocks were cleaned up.

At this point, the foster mother brought out some snacks on a little table. Milo was quick to belly up to the table, clapping. He proved quickly that he is a big fan of food, by chowing down. He let Spencer feed him some cookies, and was good about handing everyone else pieces of food. His foster mother brought out some soy milk boxes for him, which Spencer promptly opened and handed over. Spencer mixed his eating with playing… Milo had to be shooed away from the table. :) Milo proved that he was a serious eater when Spencer paused from eating his banana to say something to us and Milo ran right over and bit into it. I'm not sure if we found the action funnier or the reaction by Spencer.

Spencer then decided to explore what other toys Milo had, having spied some from a care package earlier. While exploring the play area of the living room, Spencer discovered the blanket that we had sewn for one of the care packages and a lively game of "Matador" ensued. This involved the boys running up and down the hallway, Spencer waving the blanket and Milo running through it. This continued for a while, with laughter and giggles from the boys… they had a blast running and goofing around. We finally got to hear Milo's giggle and see him *really* smile. I think they could have done this all day… and something tells me they will. Soon.

At some point, presents were exchanged, and puffs were brought out. Milo was quick to claim that puffs jar as his own! The plan had been to hand him some, but he quickly set us straight that he would do it all by himself, and dole out some to his brother… and maybe—just maybe—us. At one point, Doug tried to take the container away and Milo proved that he's one strong boy, putting up a good fight… not letting it go in the least. When Doug didn't immediately give in, we saw the start of a cry… face crunching in, and bottom lip puffing out. They quickly compromised and Milo sat on Doug's lap while controlling the puffs jar.

Before we knew it, our meeting was over. (It's amazing how quickly forty five minutes can go! Especially when you add in eating and gift-giving.) As we gathered our stuff, the person who seemed most upset was Milo. I'm not sure if it was the abrupt end to the playdate, the fact that we were leaving, or the fact that he too wanted to go outside. There were some quick hugs goodbye with Milo… and then we were off! It was very quiet as we walked down those stairs… well, except for Milo's grunts of disagreement. There was a little sadness… but we knew we had another meeting set up. There was more a sense of peace, a sense of contentment. We finally met the boy we had "met" months and months before in the referral.

And in perfect summation, the first song to come on the radio when we got back in the agency van was "Sweet Caroline," which—as any Red Sox fan will tell you—is Boston's "anthem." Played at every Red Sox home game, I think that all Bostonites call it their own. A little sign from the universe I think.

Our next meeting will be on Christmas Eve…

{Per agency rules, we cannot share any photos publicly until our case is deemed final by the Korean court system… But, trust us. He's adorable!}