MUSINGS: Sonny came home… to a forever family
February 18, 2009 · Jake Krob
A bear hug for Dad. A cuddle for Mom. A stroke of Sister's cheek. A "noogie" for Brother.
Sonny (Soo-hoon) fit into our family the moment he stepped off the elevator at the Des Moines airport late Monday night, Feb. 9.
And the signs that things are meant to be just keep coming. Like a song. Like a sport. Like a book.
Sonny's 13. He has Down Syndrome. He's been in the care of Holt International since his birth. "Lived" with Holt is a better way to say it. The pictures he arrived with show a boy traveling, singing in a distinguished choir and being loved every day of his life.
Holt, which connected us with our five-year-old Eli, led us to Sonny, as you've read. We broke the rules by pursuing adoption out of birth order. By continuing to say, "He's our son!" even after a surprise pregnancy.
But Sonny's arrival last week showed us there are, indeed, rules to be broken. And the signs tell us so.
The day of his arrival found us first at the doctor, for an ultrasound of our second child by birth. I'm one to compartmentalize. Get through the baby check first, then worry about the teen that will enter our lives.
Truth be told, one percent of me wondered if this was the right decision. Through the excitement and anxiety, that one percent remained as we drove to Des Moines Monday night, Feb. 9, preparing for the arrival of a 9:30 p.m. flight from Denver.
And then he appeared at the top of the escalator, next to "Bob," the escort from Korea.
"Ap-ba!" he yelled. Dad.
We embraced. He snuggled up to Mom. He stroked the cheek of Ella, his 2 ½-year-old sister. He rubbed Eli's head.
It was right.
"Thank you," he said, with a slight bow, to all who greeted him - my parents from Tipton, my sister from West Branch, my brother from Ames, Niki's parents and sister and nephew from Omaha.
"He's happy," Niki proclaimed later that night. A sign, indeed.
And they kept coming.
We shot video of Sonny's arrival. In an inaugural move, I posted them at You Tube to share the grateful day with friends and family. Afterward, I attempted a You Tube search to be able to best lead friends and family to the images. "Sonny home" I typed.
"Sunny Came Home," sung by Shawn Colvin, was a top hit to that search. Too crazy. "Eli's coming" was the theme song when Eli came home from Korea.
I had to find the lyrics and mistakenly typed "Sonny Come Home." In that tune, David Ackles croons, "Sonny, the table's set, the water's warm...Come home, come home, come home."
It's been a long time coming for Sonny to come home.
There's a sport, too. Within 18 hours of his arrival, Sonny showed his coordination with basketball and Tae Kwon Do moves. Then he tried on a pair of hand-me-down shorts with "Tipton Wrestling" on them.
"Wrestling?" I said.
Sonny shot in on a double leg. I was nearly on the carpet. A son who loves the greatest sport around!
But back to a real sign.
We read books before bedtime. Eli announced on the evening after the big day that Sonny could pick the story. He reached into the bookshelf and unknowingly pulled out "Over the Moon," by Karen Katz.
It's an adoption story. A woman gives birth and makes a sacrifice like no other. A couple dreams of that baby, a girl in this story.
"Come quickly and get her," the story proclaims. The parents are elated.
Eli and Sonny lay on the floor as I read it. Eli, adopted at 6 months old, will never fully understand what that means. He's been "ours" since nearly the beginning. But he gets the words of the story. Sonny, who recognized few words, knows deeply the story of adoption. He's waited 13 years.
Dad was almost in tears. Because of the signs. Because of the marvelous ways families are born. Because of how well the adjustment in our household is going.
The end of the book is one this columnist can't come close to replicating.
"Forever and always we will be your mommy and daddy. Forever and always you will be our child."
Welcome home, Sonny, our son.