This is the home in which three generations of Lauren’s family have grown up and at the close of their ceremony they will be enhancing the landscape here with the National lower of Korea, a Rose of Sharon. The Rose of Sharon blooms every day from early July through late October. Some 2,000 to 3,000 bloom on a single plant, which is strong enough to survive even when it is transplanted or cut for decoration and flower arrangements. Thus, the flower represents the wish for lasting development and prosperity. Koreans cherish and care for the national flower as it symbolizes many achievements the country has realized, and the trials and tribulations the people have overcome. This is much like the journey that a family shares as each of it’s members seek their own path.
Lauren and Colin ask that as we conclude the ceremony you help them by taking one of the containers of dirt over by the new shrub and bring to mind your love and support, perhaps a wish or a blessing and add your soil to the roots of the plant that it Song-Jin and this family will all grow strong with time. And now without further delay we will begin!”
Lauren and Colin take their place with their son Seong-Jin
“Welcome dear friends and family. We gather today to celebrate Seong-Jin’s birth, our union as a family, and to give thanks to the forces that brought us together. We acknowledge all of the people who love Seong-Jin now, who have loved him in the past and those who will help in the future help him to become the man he is intended to be. Today Lauren and Colin pledge their love and support to their son, and officially share with you all the name they have given him. To share a name is to “claim” him as a part of this family. This has been a long awaited moment and their joy to be able to share it with you whom they love most in the world, is yet another of their many blessings.”
“Names are an important part of one’s identity. In Korea, the family name comes first followed by a two-syllable given name. It is not a first and middle name but rather the two syllables or words together are the given name. Seong-Jin’s Korean name is Kim Seong-Jin. Lauren and Colin have chosen to keep Seong-Jin’s beautiful name while adding new parts.
His first name will be Seong-Jin. Seong means accomplish, and Jin means true. It is their hope that he always remains true to himself and to others and that he accomplishes all that he sets out to do.
His middle name will be Martin after Lauren’s beloved grandfather. It was Lauren’s grandfather who took the role of father in her life and they wanted Seong-Jin to have his name. His second middle name will be Kim which is his birthmother’s family name so he may keep his connection with her family.
And his last name will be Bartoldus continuing a tradition of fine Bartoldus men.”
“For three families, I Kate, Seong-Jin’s aunt, Joann, and Lauren and Colin to come forward and light to come forward and light three candles in love, respect, and gratitude for those who have made Seong-Jin’s past, present, and future one that was overwhelmingly filled with love for this child.
With every new life, respect must be given to those who came before. Today we give thanks to all of our ancestors from Korea, the US, and Europe.
Seong-Jin’s experience is different from most in that in his short life he has had three families love him. In this ceremony we wish to acknowledge all of the families who love Seong-Jin and have important roles in his life.
First Candle is for Seong-Jin’s biological family who made an adoption plan for him out of pure, unselfish love. His birthmother put aside her own feelings and desire to raise her baby boy in the hopes that he could have a better life than she could provide. Let Seong-Jin always know how much his birth family loves him. Let Seong-Jin’s birth mother find peace knowing how loved Seong-Jin is.
Katie lights the first candle
The Second Candle is for his Foster Family. Ms. Kang, her husband, and daughter Yu Jin loved and cared for Seong-Jin from the time he was a week old until Lauren and Colin picked him up in Seoul five months later. Lauren and Colin were so lucky to be able to meet the Ms. Kong and see first hand how well Seong-Jin was taken care of and how hard it was for her to say goodbye. As Seong-Jin was their first foster child he will always have a special place in their hearts.
Joann lights the second candle
The Third Candle is for the family that we are all a part of. Colin and Lauren had their greatest dream come true on November 17th when they saw the picture of the little boy who would become their son. In the realization of that dream we celebrate the lifetime of joys to come in watching and helping Seong-Jin grow into manhood knowing that he is forever part of their family.
Lauren and Colin light the third candle
And will you now together light the center candle representing Seong-Jin.”
All light the center candle together
Promises to Seong-Jin
“Lauren and Colin, the journey of parenthood is one of amazing beauty, this is clear just to look at you both. The love that radiates from and around you and your son today shall change over the years. We gather here because it is our wish that Seong-Jin grow to be a man who truly loves his life. You most of all will be his guide on this journey. It is important to provide not only food and clothing to a child but also time and love and respect. So it is only right that this ceremony should include your promise to nurture your son in all ways as he grows. Therefore as a promise to him and a reminder to yourselves as the years pass, I now ask you:
Do you promise to keep the bonds between you strong, thereby providing your son with a stable and loving home, giving him a firm foundation, and a good example of what it means to be committed to one another in love and joy, through difficult and wonderful times as husband and wife, parents, partners, teachers and friends?”
Do you promise to teach Seong-Jin not who or what, but how to love, to trust, to respect, and to dream so that he may truly participate in the remarkable journey that is life? And that you will continue to value his hopes and dreams and let him know that he will always be welcomed, accepted and loved for who he is and for who he is not and that there is nothing you can’t conquer as a family?”
“Do you promise to not only take the responsibility of loving and caring for Seong-Jin as your own, but also to understand and be proud of where he comes from? And to offer him to a wide variety of experiences, showing him the beginnings of many a wondrous journey, instilling in him a sense of wonder and passion, and the knowledge that he alone has the power to complete himself?”
“Do you promise to hold him close in your hearts always, yet still encourage him to stand on his own when the time comes so that he may discover his own true self? And to be honest about your triumphs and as well as your missteps so that Seong-Jin will have the valuable opportunity to learn form your example, yet still be free to learn his own lessons in life?”
“Children not only learn from their parents but are guided by other caring adults. Although all of you here will help fulfill that role for Seong-Jin, Lauren and Colin have chosen two very special people to aid them. Nicole and Jamie will you join us?
Nicole and Jamie step forward
The promise Lauren and Colin ask you to make is one of a physical presence in their son’s life as the two people who he knows will always be standing quietly behind him, encouraging him to make good choices, and sharing with him the lessons that you yourselves have learned along the way. Colin and Lauren trust your motivations and your judgment completely and they take comfort in knowing that although there will be times when Seong-Jin cannot come to them, that he will always be able to come to you for guidance and support. With this in mind I now ask you…
Do you promise to love and encourage Seong-Jin through out his life? Do you promise to offer him your eyes to see his triumphs and his difficulties in a way that will best serve him? Do you promise him your ear when he needs advice and when he just needs to speak? Do you promise him your openness, your honesty and your presence as someone who loves him almost as much as Lauren and Colin themselves?”
Nicole and Jamie: “We do.”
“May Seong-Jin bring to your hearts a lifetime of joy and wonder.”
“Today we celebrate all kinds of family and relationships. Seong-Jin was very lucky in that the family he came to included Aiden his “best cousin”. From the first time Aiden saw a picture of Seong-Jin, he couldn’t wait to play with him and teach him things. Aiden is very gentle, sweet, and protective of Seong-Jin and Seong-Jin adores his big cousin. It is already clear that they have a special bond that will grow as they grow. Aiden will you join us?
Aiden comes up
Your Titi and Uncle Colin want you to know how special you are to them and to Seong-Jin. They love you very much and are so happy that Seong-Jin has you as his cousin. And what better way to show you this than with a gift to always remind you of their love.
Aiden is given his gift
Name chops are used in Korea as signatures. Seong-Jin and Aiden will both be given name chops and special cousin charms. The charms say in Korean “Aiden and Seong-Jin- best cousins.”
“Will you now each in your own way join with me in spirit as I ask for blessings upon this child….
May you be blessed with love. May your life be full of those whose hearts are pure May you love well, and be well loved.
May you be blessed with wisdom. May you continually learn from the world around you. Seeing with eyes of kindness may they guide you always.
May you be blessed with community. May you always be blessed with the awareness that you are an essential part of a circle of family and friends. May there always be within this group a sense of mutual love, trust, support and respect.
May you be blessed with art and beauty. May your creative aspirations and experiences find expression and bring you joy and fulfillment.
May you be blessed with health. May life bestow upon you wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. May you live long and know many joys.
With those good intentions still in mind will Seong-Jin’s grandparents come up and place the Rose of Sharon in the ground?
Grandparents cone forward pause for a moment to reflect on the soil and then begin the planting process and return to their seats
As the Rose of Sharon has been an important part of Korean Culture for centuries, it was the natural choice for Colin and Lauren when they wanted to show their gratitude for the past, for their integrated family and for the promise of the future.”
Lauren: “Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends and family may I present…..
Colin: “Our son Seong-Jin Martin Kim Bartoldus!”