Tuesday, July 5, 2016


     Who are my biological parents and why didn't they want me?  Questions that almost every adoptee has struggled with the majority of their lives.  Questions that are often left unanswered.  These queries don't just plague the adoptees but can also weigh like an anchor upon the thoughts of the adoptive parents as well.  Do we share what little information we have with our children?  When will they be old enough to do this?  Do we help them find their biological parents?  Would it even be possible?  Truth be told, there are no correct answers to these questions.  For each family, each child and each parent the road traveled may be very different.  For our family, currently here in Korea, our road has taken an interesting turn.

     This week my wife and I traveled with our four children (soon to be six:) to the Korean Social Services Office and the orphanage site where both Luke and Rachel stayed prior to foster care and their eventual adoption to the U.S.  For Luke, that journey took just 4.5 months.  In 2001 when he arrived at the airport, he was greeted by four generations of his new family and a love that would never end.

2001 - (At Airport) Mommy holds Luke for the 1st time.

2001 - Four Generations
2001 - Arriving Home

Rachel's journey was only slightly longer and in 2003 she arrived home only three days shy of six months.  Notably, the second she saw mommy she reached out and touched her face.  An instant connection was made and a lifelong love and friendship.

2003 - Are you my mother? (Grammie is holding Rachel)
2003 - Brothers?  I have brothers?
2003 - Home for the first time.
     But today we tell a different story.  Today Rachel is 13 years old and Luke is 15.  Today we find ourselves in Korea at the social services office.  Today we learn who our parents are and why they couldn't take care of me.  Today that ache .................... that constant longing for answers will finally be satiated.

     It was a difficult journey.  None of us really knew what to feel ............ why should we?  We were happy and sad, relieved and surprised.  We shed smiles and tears all in the same breath and when it was over ........... we were exhausted.  The emotional journey was more than we'd expected but the resolution was exactly what we needed.

     We had arrived in Korea only a few months after they had leveled all the orphanage buildings. All that remained was the office structure.  Korea is essentially closed to international adoption now and they are finding homes for their children within the borders of their own country.  A resolution that is best for the children and a remarkable step for an Asian country steeped in the traditions of bloodlines.  

The buildings may have been gone but the administrator loved all her children and after 30 years was well prepared for our visit.  She had the original files for both Luke & Rachel and even presented us with baby pictures we had never seen before.  She presented the children and our family with several small gifts but that was just the beginning.


 In the next room was a detailed model of the entire orphanage.  She was able to tell us the exact building that Luke was in and the same for Rachel.  She knew these wonderful teens needed resolution and needed to understand all they could about their past.  She was kind, patient and answered every question they could think of.

Luke's building is to the left.  His stay was not lengthy.  As soon as the orphanage was notified that he had a family he was placed into foster care to help prepare him for being in that family.

Rachel's experience two years later was very similar to her brother's.  On the right you can see her building before she, too, was placed into foster care.

     So today we are a stronger family, armed with the knowledge of our past.  We have answers to many of those questions that nagged at our consciousness in those quiet, introspective moments.  No, we are not yet whole - and the fresh wounds of reality and truth will take time to heal but when they do our children will be able to answer that fundamental question that has followed them their entire lives .................. why ........ why?

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