Somerset family welcomes Korean addition
Her given name is Bo Gyeong, which means "Precious Shine" in Korean.
"Her birth mom named her that," Brian Williamson said, noting that many children who are given up for adoption are rarely named. "So we kept it as her middle name because we wanted to honor that."
Williamson stood in the pink nursery of his Somerset twinhome, a spring mural painted on one side courtesy of his wife Bethany. A Korean doll rested on the window sill -- a gift from a family friend in Seattle.
"She had been keeping this from when she was young, and been holding onto it to give to another Korean child," Williamson said. "Things just fall into place."
The Williamsons -- along with their biological children Abby, 11, Micah, 8, and Connor, 6 -- have recently welcomed Olivia Bo Gyeong, 11 months, to their family.
The adoption process had been a long one, starting in 2007; however, Bethany said the idea to adopt predates their marriage.
"We talked about it before we got married," Brian explained. "We thought if God gives us a healthy family, we would adopt. The timing was up for debate, though."
"About four years ago, God said to take steps toward the adoption," Bethany said. "We had to be open and be ready, especially since adopting internationally is very expensive."
They said they always considered international adoption because they are fascinated with different cultures and value diversity.
Although they were willing to start the process, with Brian as the pastor for The Bridge Bible Church in Somerset and Bethany homeschooling their two older children, they admit the financial aspect was daunting.
However, Brian said that when he was talking with another friend about their desire to adopt a child from another country, his friend presented him with an offer. A parishioner of his friend's church had left $25,000 to be given to a family who was planning to adopt internationally.
"That was our watershed moment," Brian recalled.
"We had prepared our hearts, and God prepared the way," Bethany said.
To that end, they signed with Bethany Christian Services adoption agency in 2007. They learned a lot about adoption red tape, as some countries only want the prospective family to have two biological children, another wants the family to be in the country for a time period.
The Williamsons were allowed to say they wanted an infant, but they could not specify a gender. For the first year, they were on the waiting list, then they had to complete a home study.
"Paperwork and patience," Bethany recalled of those years.
They finally received the referral November 2009 that a baby girl from Korea would be available. She was born May 23 -- two months premature -- but Brian said as soon as they e-mailed photos of her to them, they knew she was the one.
"I was home with Micah and Abby when they called," Brian said. "When they sent the photos, I was crying."
The Williamsons began amassing baby things in the following months and getting the house prepped. They elected to have her escorted to the United States rather than all of them going to Korea. When they got notice that she would be coming into Chicago's O'Hare airport on April 22, the whole family drove over to greet her.
The welcome was captured in a professional video on YouTube entitled "Olivia's Gotcha Day!" set to the song "You're Beautiful" by Phil Wickman.
The siblings have been adjusting well to their new baby sister. Bethany said Abby has been a big help with Olivia.
"She had previously only changed one diaper, now she's an old pro," Bethany joked.
"I call her Livy-Bear, and I like to play with her on the floor," Micah said.
The Williamsons said they will encourage Olivia to learn about her heritage, and plan on taking a family trip to Korea in about eight years when she gets older.
So far, they said Olivia is fitting in perfectly with the family; she is very vocal and likes to get into the midst of things.
Brian said that his family encourages people who are considering adopting to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"There are 147 million orphans in the world, but now thanks to God's grace, there is one less."