The Matz family reflects on their first experience adopting through Holt’s Korea program, and shares some exciting news about their plans to continue growing their family through adoption!
Exploring the city in the bright, crisp morning hours while the rest of the city seems to be asleep. The unexpected solitude of the corners of Gyeongbukgung. The contradiction of old and new architecture. Intricate paper lanterns by the hundreds. Bustling markets full of anything you could possibly need. Kimchi, royal tteokpokki and hoddeok. Back alley BBQ, sitting on buckets. Our lock, secured to Seoul Tower, marked so we can find it together years from now when we return. Holt and their amazing staff. And of course, that it is our son’s birthplace.
These are some things we love most about Seoul, and loving Seoul is just one of the reasons we have chosen to pursue a second adoption from South Korea.
“But it is more expensive than it used to be…”
“But the process is taking longer than it used to and the laws are changing and the kids are older and…”
None of that could deter us from growing our family in the way we feel especially drawn to grow it.
Our first son Ethan’s adoption, from the day we applied to the day we touched down here in the U.S., took two years and five days. But that two-year wait allowed us the time to learn about ourselves as prospective parents, about each other as husband and wife, about adoption and attachment and patience and faith. We gained knowledge that would help our son have a healthy transition. And he did. We gained friends among fellow adoptive parents who we’ll know for a lifetime, even if we never meet face-to-face. Adoption truly is an amazing life event. That two-year wait ensured that we were ready — that we longed with our whole beings to be parents to THIS child. We longed to be parents through international adoption despite any processes, paperwork, delays or drama.
Our plan was clear to us before we’d even completed our post-placement requirements for Ethan’s adoption. We chose Holt because of their history and because of the phenomenal care they give the children as they wait to join their forever families. And we chose to adopt from South Korea because your child gets to know his or her story; they get the chance to know their foster families — and potentially, someday, their birth family. In South Korea, children must be relinquished by their birth parents in order to be legally placed for adoption — as opposed to abandoned — which means valuable pieces of our son’s history are passed along to us. When our son is old enough to begin trying to understand adoption, we will be able to tell him things like where he was born and how much he weighed. And when he’s 18, he can attempt to initiate contact with his birth family, if he chooses.
While we waited for our son to come home, we got to know him through frequent photos, monthly medical checkups and periodic progress reports. While he waited, a Holt foster family provided love and support and structure that has become invaluable to us as we came to realize the impact they had on our son. When we met Ethan for the very first time, his eyes lit up like he knew who we were. While in her care, his foster “omma” showed him our photos, called us “mommy” and “daddy” and prepared him as much as she could for the transition. They even used his English and Korean names together when they spoke to him to help us transition in that way. It is clear that his foster family had already begun teaching him to be respectful, cautious but adventurous, and loving. We are so thankful to Ethan’s foster family for their role in our smooth transition. The care and history provided by the South Korean adoption program is unmatched.
And how fantastic for Ethan and his soon-to-be sibling to relate about their ethnicity and culture and potentially similar birth stories…
We are so pleased to say that we just accepted a referral for our second son, Alex! Receiving the referral package and announcing our acceptance reminded us of two phenomenal benefits of the Holt Korea program. The referral files we received included photos from three different stages of our son’s life thus far, as well as birth and hospital records, family history and all subsequent test results, well baby checks and immunization records. We love that we’ll be able to let Alex know about his first eight months of life even though he wasn’t with us then.
An unexpected but amazing aspect of adoption is the network of true friends you end up with from all across the world. When we announced our acceptance of Alex’s referral in social media groups, we had adoption friends from four countries “like” or comment on our post to share their excitement for our growing family. Many of these adoptive parents, most of whom we’ve never met face-to-face, cried for joy for us. They expressed genuine relief, excitement and love and immediately started sharing details of their own plans to adopt again from Holt Korea. We have been immeasurably blessed by sharing our experiences with a diverse group of adoptive parents from all over the world.
There is uncertainty in every adoption process. But the choice we made to adopt from South Korea the first time yielded the most amazing reward.
This little boy calls us “momma” and “daddy.” He is healthy and happy and on track developmentally and that is thanks to the South Korean adoption program, Holt and their staff and his amazing foster family. Ethan has been home nine months, but our relationship feels like it has been growing for years. He attached to us and our family dog quickly and shows a preference for us over strangers, yet is comfortable with us leaving him at daycare. He is confident, independent and silly. As Ethan’s family, we are the perfect fit for one another.
Yes, the process is ever-evolving, but the fact remains: there are children who need families. And we are honored and grateful to again be one of those families as we work through the process to bring home our second son from South Korea.
Amber Matz | Cedar Rapids, IA