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Korean Adoption

An Adoption Story from Korea--Kaelin's Story: It Was Not My Plan

I don’t know how to say, in words, just how lucky we are to have our family. When my husband, Brian, and I got engaged I was tested for a family genetic translocation of chromosomes and found that I carried a balanced translocation which meant I could pass it on to our biological children. We were counseled by a specialist, who has been studying the specific translocation in our family, and found out that if I passed this translocation on, in an unbalanced translocation, the child would have multiple mental disabilities and some physical as well. I very much knew the reality of this because my sister had this unbalanced translocation. I knew it meant a possibility of our child not knowing the difference between right or wrong or being able to reason in this harsh world. They would never have the life any parent envisions for their beautiful baby.

We decided to see what happened and have the child tested during pregnancy. In 1996 I became pregnant. We were ecstatic. However, in April of that year, we lost the baby girl who was supposed to be born on August 25, 1996. It was the worst day of my life. I grieved for weeks on end with my husband grieving in his own way. We were devastated.

Kaelin_Korea_FamilyWe began looking into adoption at this point; not whole-heartedly though. We didn’t really know anyone who had adopted, personally, and didn’t know anything about the process or what it all meant. We went to a local attorney and filled out some forms and looking back, I now understand those forms were just questionnaires for a birth mother to look at and select adoptive parents for her child. We never did receive a call for that and never did call that attorney back to follow up, either.

In mid-June 1996 we found out I was pregnant again and we found out three, very long, months later that the baby boy I was carrying did not have the balanced or unbalanced translocation. We were thrilled.

Cole was born to us on March 8, 1997 at 7:00 a.m. weighing in at over 8 lbs. The day he was to be released to go home the doctors detected a loud murmur. We were told to travel to the children’s hospital an hour from our home that same week to have it looked at by a pediatric cardiologist. We found out when our son was five days old that he had Tetralogy of Fallot, Situs Inversus and Dextro Cardia. These were such scary words to hear. Then the doctor explained everything to us, we took a deep breath and I read everything I could get my hands on about his condition. Every few weeks we drove an hour to take Cole to the university where he was first diagnosed with his congenital heart defect. They finally decided we’d shoot for surgery when he was 1 ½ years old. We waited and watched him for 8 ½ months until he had a large enough cyanotic spell to require correction of his heart defect. He then, the day before Thanksgiving and my husband’s birthday, had open-heart surgery. He went in around 7:30 in the morning and came out for us to see him at around 5:00 that evening. It was a very long day and a very long week and a half of living at the hospital. He was off and on by-pass twice, making the likelihood of brain damage higher. He had patches put over his two large septal defects and had muscle thinned out near one of his valves so blood could pass easier to the heart and lungs. Cole is now almost 8 years old and perfectly healthy in every way. He will always have the possibility of open-heart again, most like in his teens according to his cardiologist, but we’ll deal with that when it comes. (more...)

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