Stephen and Lori Orth with their son Davis.

Over the 14 years my husband Steve and I have known each other, I have talked him into a lot of things he probably never thought he would do.

He is the calm and even-keeled one.

I am the free-spirited one with all the wild ideas.

We both love to travel.  I have talked him into several adventures around the world, and he’s talked me into a few, too.  Together we have hitch-hiked through the rural Andes Mountains of Ecuador, zip-lined and rock climbed through the jungle in Laos, and ridden camels to camp in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, to name a few.

Steve and I have seen a lot of the world together and made a lot of memories doing so, but we both agree that the greatest adventure I have talked him into has been growing our family through Korean adoption.

For the last couple of years, September 12 has been a big day for our family.

On September 12, 2012, Steve and I saw our son Davis’ face in a photo for the first time when we received his referral from Holt.  Before we ever got the email with all of the information about him, Holt’s Korea program had spoken with me on the phone about this child.  Without having yet seen his photo or medical file, Steve and I knew this child was our son.

Even though the special needs mentioned in Davis’ file were very minor and did not worry us, we decided to have an international adoption pediatrician help us better understand them.  By doing this, we learned that the most notable one was completely resolved before Davis was ever born.  We had absolute peace about moving forward with adopting Davis.

As we were approaching the one year anniversary of Davis’ referral, Steve and I were still waiting with great anticipation for Davis to join our family.  We had believed he would be home with us by then, but as the months dragged on, it had become clear that we still had a long wait ahead.  Many changes had come to the Korea adoption program which had greatly lengthened the wait for children to join their families.  While our adoption process was taking longer than we anticipated, we made September 12, 2013 an exciting day by hiking over Mount Makarot into the Serengeti Plain of northern Tanzania.

If we could not yet have our son, the distraction of another big adventure was good medicine for our waiting hearts.

In March — 18 months after his referral — our precious Davis was placed in our arms at the Holt office in Seoul.  We said a tearful goodbye to his loving foster mother as we climbed into a waiting taxi and drove off together toward our forever.

The long, hard wait had all been worth it.

Steve and I had grown to love Korea deeply during our time spent there during our two trips for Davis’ adoption.  In a way we had never experienced in all our travels, Korea had become a part of us.  It was wonderful to enjoy a few final days together as a family of three in Seoul – a place to which our son will always be connected – before we made our way home to Tennessee. 

Our first months home with Davis are some we will certainly always remember.  Davis had to adjust to a new way of life after having just said goodbye to all he knew, and Steve and I had to learn to be his parents.  The transition was difficult for all of us, but we found so much love and happiness in seeing Davis’ attachment to us develop. Watching him explore our home, play with his toys, eat dinner at our table, and splash in our bathtub was almost unbelievable.   After a year and a half of seeing him grow in photos and longing to hold him, our precious son was here!

While having Davis home with us was a dream come true, Steve and I felt our family was not yet complete.

We wanted Davis to share the bond of his Korean heritage with a sibling also from Korea.  The adoption process for Davis had been long and challenging, but Steve and I could not imagine adopting from anywhere else.  For Davis’ adoption, we had chosen Holt upon the recommendation of some dear friends of ours.  But for our second adoption, we knew more about the other agencies available to us and thought it was important to consider them.  So we did, but our hearts pulled us back “home” to Holt — back to the familiar Holt staff, back to the big, shiny building in Seoul where we first became a family, and back to the comfort of knowing our future child is thriving in the care of a very loving Holt foster family while we wait.

As soon as we were eligible to begin another adoption, we applied to Holt and completed our homestudy as quickly as possible.  Steve and I felt like our next child was waiting for us, and we were correct!  On September 12, 2014, exactly two years after my phone rang with the news of Davis’ referral, another call came with more exciting news:  Another son!

Steve and I are so happy to be adding our new son, Park, to our family.  Davis gets even more excited than Steve and me at the arrival of new photos of Park from Holt.  He jumps, cheers, and shouts “Ark! Ark!” in his best toddler pronunciation of his little brother’s name.

It is impossible to know what September 12, 2015 will hold for our family, or if Park will be home with us by then.

I certainly hope we will be together so that he, Davis, and I can work on dreaming up the next wild idea we can talk their daddy into.

Lori Orth | Tennessee

smiling little boy adopted from Korea wearing camo shirt and hat in front of red car

Adopt From Korea

Many children in Korea are waiting for a loving, permanent family.

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