Want to hear a great story with a great ending that just gives you that feel-good feeling we all desire in times where you might not have had a good day at work, school, or even just want to add more joy to your day? This story is just for you then because it is a feel-good story with great content and brings up something that needs to be addressed. So make sure to read until the end to hear my opinions and a slight call to action!

First thing is first, we are almost two months into the decade! Congratulations, you’re amazing! Truly though, it is not easy, but you did it and you are going to rock the rest of the year! I cannot wait to share the first adoption spotlight of the year with you! I’m so excited to be sharing Mr. Fowler’s story today! A quick little background; he was my physics teacher last year and he’s wicked smart using his wits as the advisor for our scholastic scrimmage team! I loved his challenging course last year because you know my love for science, but also he is one of the most generous and kindest people out there, so much that he is sharing his adoption story with you all!

Mr. Fowler’s adoption story begins at a Welcome House hosted by Pearl S. Buck; which was an organization working with adoption from Korea since the Korean War. Before, Mr. Fowler and his wife adopted Sadie, they always had the dream to have children and have a family. They had three children of their own who were all boys. They believed their family would be complete with a girl. Instead of having a child the “normal” way, they decided to adopt. They believed adoption could help them complete their family and give back. Giving back through adoption leads us steps towards solving the overpopulation epidemic our world faces and giving a child their forever loving home is truly the best it could ever get.

The Fowlers decided to go the international route to provide a loving home to children in dire need. Originally, they wanted to adopt a child that resembled their appearances, but since love made families and not genes, they chose Korea. They appreciated Korea because of their own foster care system that was implemented. Also, the health care was relatively reliable in case anything was needed.

Their adoption process was definitely long, but well worth it! They went through the average process that takes SO long such as, meeting with people, families, and filling out tons of paperwork, questionnaires, huge packets, and the house check to ensure safety. After the long process, they were finally accepted!

Their process officially began in June of 2000, and then they waited for about 4-5 months. Eventually, they received a photo of a child with a mini little biography which was a potential child they could  adopt. They instantly loved the child in the photo and waited for another couple of months before they officially adopted her.

When the time finally came, hopes were high and it surely did not disappoint. Mr. Fowler and his wife took a four day, two night trip to Korea. Through Holt International, they were able to adopt their little girl. *Insert excited squeal*

When they first met their baby, her foster mother brought her to the Fowlers. The foster mom was very sweet and had a baby pouch in which baby was carried in. It differed from the traditional ones we are used to in a sense that they carried their babies on their backs. The foster mother showed Mrs. Fowler how to put it on and the whole nine yards. The pouch was comforting to the baby because although she gained a forever family, transitions are hard, and it maintained a component from where she came from. There was a medical checkup to ensure the health of Mr. Fowler’s daughter and once all was right, they were able to take her right then and there. This was convenient because they were able to spend the night and get to know her before they departed for the United States early the next morning.

The baby’s name was originally Na Rae and to keep a part of her name, they named her Sadie Rae. Keeping a part of the birth name has proven to give the adopted child a sense of their culture growing up and feel connected to their birth home.

On the way back to the US, it was a little rough because not only was the plane ride long, but Mrs. Fowler had a gnarly hamburger the night before which made her sick throughout the duration of the flight. This meant yours truly, Mr. Fowler had the honor of taking care of Sadie on the way back. Note that she still had not gotten used to her new family and was just a wee bit stubborn. She wouldn’t eat or let her parents hold her properly, but that is ok! She would fight until she was too exhausted sometimes, but it all takes a little getting used to. Luckily, the flight attendants were sweet enough to lend a hand which was beneficial because they were a familiar face and were of the same ethnicity as Sadie which she seemed to accept easier. After that, it was all downhill. :)

When they brought Sadie back to US, she was 6 months old. It was hard for her to adjust at first, but things eventually worked out! They introduced her to the whole family. His 2 year-old son called her baby Korea because kids right? ;). It took about 2 months before Sadie finally settled in and fully accept her new family. Since then, nothing but sweet love because nothing is sweeter or stronger than the love of a family.

A unique part of Korean adoption is that the adoption is not finalized right when you pick up the child. Instead, a family waits about 6 months after the adoption before it is completely finalized. Also, the Fowlers had the opportunity to have someone bring Sadie to them in the United States, but they wanted to go to Korea themselves. They got her on December 7th of 2000, but the adoption was officially finalized until October.

The Fowler family was already diverse which Mr. Fowler hopes helped Sadie feel accepted growing up. Mr. Fowler’s younger brother was married to a woman from Costa Rica and had international children with her. Also, Mr. Fowler’s sister married a man from Bali and they had international children that looked Asian just like Sadie. It was comforting to have other international faces in the family because sometimes there is a minor sense of finding where you belong in families, but having the diversity and connections made it that much easier.

Sadie graduated from Quakertown High School in 2018 and is now a sophomore at Dickinson College studying double major in international studies and educational studies with a minor in Italian! Next year, she plans to study abroad in Italy. She is already so successful and has bright plans ahead of her and Mr. Fowler said that adopting her was “one of the best decisions ever made and she has brought SO much love and joy into their lives.”

Sending so much gratitude to Mr. Fowler for sharing his story with us and giving us such a success and feel-good story! There are two things I want to make quick commentary about. One, I believe that the media and tv shows can sometimes portray adoption in negative ways that suggest adoptees are aggressive and broken. Obviously, not ALL media platforms do this; some are trying to spread awareness about the different stories. My subtle reminder is just to remember that one of the most important things a child can have in their life is a support system and I hope together we can provide that if there are children who do not have families or in any other situation as well. There are untold stories and until you know them, one can never truly judge one another because a lot happens that we simply cannot see. And second, I want to emphasize the importance of international adoption. I know I do a lot of foster care advocacy here, but international adoption is SO important to me seeing that that is the reason I am able to share this story with you today. I feel as if a bunch of places are closing their doors to international adoption which truly breaks my heart. There are children who are in far worse conditions, so please join me in bringing international adoption back into our small talk and helping the children

overseas. I recently sent a shipment out to Myanmar that will provide 4 orphanages with multivitamins, books, activities, etc. HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT DONATED!!! Be sure to follow along for more opportunities to help me make a change.

Finally, I highly urge you to read a few more adoption stories I have posted on my blog because every story is different and every story is worth being heard. Also, on this website there are more things on my blog like educational articles about diverse holidays, etc. (cause we all love school-like things right), but there’s also photos of my experience in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Organization, my personal story, statistics, you name it! So check it out and thanks for reading my mini sales pitch there. Today is a great day to have a wonderful day!

Sincerely and with a smile,

Avia Weber