SWEET HOME — How deep is a mother’s love?
For Pam Ogden of Sweet Home it's deep enough to overcome her fear of traveling, and venture to South Korea with her husband, Jason, to bring back their adopted son, Hudson.
It's deep enough that she kept a daily journal and blog about their adventure, including the highs and the lows of the multi-year process.
And it’s so deep she's now writing a book about adoption that the family hopes will generate enough profit to help them adopt another baby, this time from Japan.
The Ogdens, both 42, have lived in Sweet Home for more than 20 years, and already had daughters Kelly, 14; Luka, 12; and Ember, 8; and son Ivan, 10. But they knew they wanted more children, even though Pam’s pregnancies were becoming difficult.
“We love being parents and we always knew we wanted a big family,” Ogden said.
They want a sixth child so badly they're willing to hold fundraisers — including an upcoming giant garage sale — to make it happen.
In her "In My Castle on a Cloud" blog (http://bit.ly/2nBojWL) — its title taken from the musical "Les Misérables" — Ogden noted: “But in the midst of it all … I dreamed and hoped and wished for a baby. Longed for one so hard that I felt all squeezed tight and gaspy inside. I’m afraid to let myself anticipate it.”
The Ogdens learned much when they began their quest to adopt Hudson, now a handsome 7-year-old with jet black hair, dark brown eyes and heart-warming grin.
“We originally thought that due to the earthquake in Haiti we might be able to adopt a child from there,” Ogden said. “But their adoption program shut down.”
The Ogdens worked with Holt International in Eugene, and their social worker told them about South Korea’s adoption program.
“She said it would be a good fit for our family,” Ogden said. “There was lots and lots of paperwork and it is expensive, about $45,000.”
Jason is a sergeant with the Sweet Home Police Department and Pam is a stay-at-home mother, so that figure was a bit daunting. They were surprised that it took a year to become matched with a child and another nine months to complete the process.
All the while, Hudson was growing and become attached to his foster family.
“Previously, children had stayed with foster families for only a few months, so this was tough on everyone,” Pam said.
In all, the process took almost three years.
“Hudson knew what was going on and when we got him, he cried out for his foster mother and father in Korean,” Pam said.
Jason said the process was “emotionally hard and very painful. At first, I wasn’t sure that I could do this again.”
After much prayer, the family decided to work with Faith International to adopt a baby from Japan, even though there are very few available.
“They tend to place orphans in institutions and not with foster families,” Jason said. “They told us to keep checking back. I had about given up when I tried one more email and got a response back that they wanted us in their program.”
The process includes an inspection of the Ogden home and family life that takes reams of paperwork and medical examinations and costs about $2,500.
The Ogdens hope they can be matched with a baby within a year, and that’s where Pam’s journal and blog come in.
“I had written down my thoughts, observations and anxieties about traveling during the adoption process for Hudson,” she said. “We made a book for him and we were reading it when he ran out of the room, crying.”
She said Hudson said, “I miss Korea, and that’s a sad story.”
Pam said she talked with him and reminded him about the happy parts of his story, which included having new brothers and sisters.
“He became upbeat and asked me to finish reading,” she said.
Her blog contains excerpts from the journal as she laid the trip out in chronological order.
“We had so much positive feedback from people they encouraged me to write a book,” Pam said.
Around Thanksgiving she submitted a partial manuscript to Lucid Books, which publishes Christian-oriented titles.
“Two weeks later, I got an email that said they really wanted to publish this book,” Pam said. “They said there is a big need for books about adoption. They said they are sure it will sell.”
The project will cost about $5,000 to complete, and the number of books printed will depend on an initial online marketing program.
“It will be about 120 pages and feature about 60 photos,” Jason said. “The first couple of chapters will be taken almost directly from the blog.”
The completed manuscript is at the publishing company for initial proofing, and the family expects to see cover samples soon.
“They will produce a hard-copy book, e-book and audio book,” Pam said.
Jason said the project is another leap of faith for the family.
“We don’t have $40,000, but God has shown us he will take care of it,” Jason said. “This book project fell into our laps. Pam did not write her journal or blog with the intent of publishing it as a book.”
The couple admit investing $5,000 is a risk.
“But it’s not a reckless risk,” Jason said. “Any entrepreneurial venture requires risk. Even if we just break even, this book will help many people who want to adopt, or are already involved in the adoption process.”
Pam said it isn’t a coincidence the book deal is in front of them.
“God gave us this book,” she said.
The Ogden children all agree on one thing — they hope the new baby is a girl.
In fact, Hudson is already bragging about a new addition to the family. He has a t-shirt that reads, “Trust me, I’m Gonna Be a Big Brother.”
”Hudson told me this morning that he dreamed he was holding his new baby. He smiled and held his arms out in front of him the way he would cradle a baby when he told me.
All of these things reassure me that we making the right decision. Jason and I have noticed so many little ways that our family has been blessed since the day we said ‘yes’ to this adoption.”