Seoul: Adoption Trip 2

AKA the BEST TRIP EVER! We left as 2 and came back as 3. To be honest, this trip was such a blur – it went so quickly and was filled with so much joy.

grant, hilari, and tommy at airport

Preparing for our second trip to Seoul has been completely different than the first trip! On April 1, Korea changed the pandemic-related entry requirements – as long as you test negative for covid upon arrival, you don’t have to quarantine. I am still incredibly stressed and nervous as our flight nears – simply because even the thought of having to quarantine again makes my head spin. The pessimist in me doesn’t believe that we will actually make it without having to quarantine, so I am packing for “kind of” quarantine – bringing more snacks and cleaning supplies than I normally would, but that’s about it (nothing like packing for real quarantine!). We still have to test negative 48 hours before our flight and again upon arrival – so I won’t really believe we are in the clear until we receive our test results in Korea.

Let’s do this!

Saturday, April 23

Complete déjà vu! We flew the exact same flights from ORD – DTW – ICN as we did just 5 weeks ago – with the same coffee stop at the Detroit airport. We left Detroit 2 hours late at 3:30pm and will arrive in Seoul tomorrow night! I can’t believe we are really doing this and just can’t stop thinking about welcoming our sweet boy into our family so very soon.

grant and hilari outside airport
collage of 3 images from our seoul adventures

Sunday, April 24

Made it to Seoul! What a wildly different arrival experience. Instead of a million covid checkpoints, we had to show our Q-CODE barcodes (to exempt us from quarantine) and I was surprised to see so few people in hazmat suits. It was completely surreal to grab our luggage and walk out of customs – no quarantine busses waiting for us!! Before we hopped in a taxi, we had our covid tests at the airport – the most painful one yet. My nose hurts just thinking about it. We’ll have our results in the morning and in the meantime, are free to check into the hotel and get organized for the most amazing week! I unpacked all of our shoes and put them by the front door, and it is just too cute seeing our little guy’s shoes all lined up with ours. It’s getting real!

shoes lined up in hotel room

Monday, April 25

We spent last night unpacking and tidying up our room. I tried to sleep but couldn’t – in large part because I am just so excited to be back and also because I want those test results. They finally came around 8am – no covid 🙂 Today was pretty warm and muggy in Seoul, so we went for a short walk, picked up a few groceries, and tried to relax. We met up with some friends for drinks and walked around the city before heading to bed. The countdown to Wednesday is on!

collage of 3 images from our seoul adventures

Tuesday, April 26

The longest day ever! The day before our whole life changes yet we don’t know quite HOW it’s going to change. I mean, we become parents tomorrow, but this is all new for us. I’m not sure what or how we should be feeling or thinking. All I know is that today absolutely crawled by – we just cannot wait! We met some friends on the rooftop of our hotel tonight to chat and reflect on the crazy adventure we’ve all been on – these sweet families will always be part of our adoption story and journey and walking through this together has been such a blessing.

flowers outside a palace in seoul

Wednesday, April 27

Gotcha Day!!! Welcome to your forever family, sweet Tommy!

family photo

Thursday, April 28

All 3 (!!) of us went downstairs for coffee in the morning, we had a little family nap, and then headed to the US Embassy in Seoul for our visa appointment. We were told to bring lots of snacks and quiet toys – no electronics (phones/watches/etc aren’t allowed). It was such a fun afternoon because all of the other families we have gotten to know so well were there with their babies and it was one big play date! When our name was called, we went to a little window and the person behind the desk asked us some questions. About 30 minutes later we had Tommy’s visa and were cleared to head back to the US whenever.

We spent the rest of the afternoon packing up, playing, and getting to know our sweet boy. We fly home tomorrow morning and I am definitely feeling all of the feels. 

collage of 3 images from our seoul adventures

Friday, April 29

Hard to believe we made it to this point with all of the bumps and hoops and hurdles along the way! Back in February, I randomly booked return flights for all 3 of us for April 29, and thought I would have to change them for sure. Nope! We were able to keep our original return flight this entire time. It was absolutely meant to be!

We took a taxi from the hotel to the airport, checked all of our luggage, walked around with Tommy, and got ready for our long flight home. Tommy was a CHAMP! He slept for about 6 hours, cried for maybe 15 minutes total, and made so many friends on the plane. He doesn’t love to sit still so I ended up walking around the plane with him for 4 hours – we got to know the sweet flight attendants so well and many of the passengers, too. 

We landed Friday morning in Chicago, went through customs and immigration, picked up our luggage, and my parents were waiting for us on the other side! The best, warmest, happiest welcome home ever!! It was such a gift to be able to share this special experience with them and just thinking about their smiling faces waiting for us brings tears to my eyes. 

grant, hilari, and tommy at airport
collage of 3 images from our seoul adventures
family at airport arrivals
collage of 3 images from our arrival home
collage of 3 images from our arrival home
family in kitchen

And now… we unpack, settle into life as 3, and love on our sweet boy.

All adoption posts here.