The year-long journey with Benjamin was very challenging at times, but very rewarding as well.
A boy who had absolutely no interest in school while an orphan in Korea, was a total failure in the 7th grade in his middle school in Korea according to school record. When I first saw his 7th grade report card from Korea, I was speechless when I saw 4 F's, 2 D's, and one C. He had totally given up on his study.
I am happy to report that through lots of guidance and encouragement and thanks to great teachers at the school, Benjamin is now getting all A's and B's. When he first started the school, I spent many hours working with him on his homeworks, but nowadays, he does it pretty much by himself. He is a real smart kid that was waiting to be discovered. I think he is going make something of himself.
He had a very lofty expectation of our family when he first came a year ago. He had heard about me in Korea through various media and other channels, a Dad who works in the space industry, and a strong adoption advocate, and thought that we would be living in a very large house with lots of rooms and that we would drive fancy cars, and that we would pamper him with lots of clothes and other gadgets like a personal computer and an iPhone.
Well, he had a big let down once he found out how modest we are with our house, cars, and other spendings. The fact that he had to share a room with his brother, the fact that he had to use a shared computer, and of course no iPhone. Even to this day, despite my busy schedule, I do not own an iPhone and nobody in my family has that luxury. It isn't that we couldn't afford. It's just that we try to go by what is necessary for us.
At one time Benjamin expressed his regret coming to our house. This was a shocker for me as I thought an orphan would welcome any home that would take him, at least that was the way it was when I was an orphan long time ago. I also thought that he would be grateful at his new opportunity, but that was furthest from his heart as all he can think of was that he didn't get what he had long wanted and fantasized in Korea. So I concluded then that the orphans of nowadays are quite different from my generation as they have never lived in the streets, gone hungry or cold, or persecuted for being an orphan like I went through. Instead, the orphans in Korea are well fed and well taken care of, but they still starve for the chance to grow up in loving homes.
It would take pages and pages to write all the things that had happened during Benjamin's first year with us. But through the grace of God, with much prayers, and through much dialogues and encouragements, and forbearance (a lot was needed), Benjamin has come a long way in accepting us as his family, and that goes for my four other children as well. They are still adjusting to Benjamin, and him to them. We still have a long ways to go, but we are on the way of becoming one as a family.
Happy 1st year Gottcha Day, Benjamin. We love you and pray that you will continue to discover, learn and to prepare yourself for excellence in the service that only God know where He will take you.
From left: Joseph, Benjamin, Jane (top), Helen, and Kay