There’s an adjustment period for every family when they bring home a new sibling. While the parents modify their work and sleeping schedules, older brothers or sisters are adapting their routines, as well. In the case of the Park family, however, their new daughter was not a newborn, but rather a one-year-old who seemingly overnight became capable of both playing with and stealing toys from her three-year-old brother. While many families would pull their hair out at the mere thought, the Parks feel blessed to have adopted two healthy babies and are reveling in the chaos.
“We can’t imagine our family without her,” said Hoon Park.
Hoon and Yvonne Park first adopted their son, Jaehoon, from Korea in October 2012. Hoon, an American citizen of Korean decent, and Yvonne have always been interested in adoption to build their family. In 2011, they were introduced to Family & Children’s Agency and began the adoption process through Korea. The following year, they brought home their 11-month-old son, Jaehoon.
Soon after settling in at home, the Parks made the decision to adopt again. Although initially worried the process may take longer following several changes to Korean international adoption laws, they found the process to be seamless. Adjustments to the referral process and travel requirements were seen as minor hurdles to the Parks, who knew it would all be worth it when they brought their daughter home.
As with their first adoption of Jaehoon, the Parks say FCA was with them every step of the way. In addition to receiving updates every other week, the couple met with FCA adoption staff after the Agency’s annual trip to Korea to collect pictures of their daughter. Even when Hoon and Yvonne traveled to Korea, they say FCA staff was always accommodating and only a phone call or email away.
For over 30 years, FCA has partnered with the Social Welfare Society (SWS) of Korea to provide international adoption services. According to Mary Kate Locke, Director of Adoption and Youth Development at FCA, this longstanding working relationship is strengthened by each agency’s commitment to learning about the other’s culture, and providing support for the birth mothers, foster parents and adopting families. “We’re two likeminded agencies,” says Mary Kate.
Hoon and Yvonne agree that the love the Korean foster mothers have for the children is both palpable and genuine. When visiting SWS awaiting Hannah’s adoption, Jaehoon was able to reunite with his foster mother. She told Hoon and Yvonne that seeing how happy Jaehoon was with his family is what encourages her to continue fostering.
“They do it out of love,” says Hoon. “You can see it in their eyes that they love these children. I think the children adjust so well because of them.”
While visiting Korea last year, the Parks were also able to celebrate Hannahs’ first birthday. SWS hosts a banquet dinner each month for children awaiting adoption, their foster parents and the adopting families, if they are available to visit. It’s an evening Yvonne and Hoon will never forget, and they are grateful to have been a part of their daughter’s earliest memories.
The Parks officially received custody of Hannah on Oct. 31, 2014 and brought her home to the United States one week later. Hannah is now two and Jaehoon is four. Although the last year has been a whirlwind, the Parks say they wouldn’t change a thing and their family is now “richer with love.”