Thursday, February 25, 2010

Introducing my birth mother...

Last night, I met the woman who gave birth to me. This was something I honestly never thought would happen, so it was pretty surreal. I had a lot of fears going into this... What if she's unhappy? What if she's moved on with her life and doesn't want to know me?

Fortunately, it was such a memorable night and it couldn't have gone any better. Mark and I went with SangKwun to a shabu shabu restaurant in Gangnam for the big reunion. I think we were both pretty nervous about the evening. It seriously felt like the longest walk to the back room of the restaurant.

There were 3 women and 1 man in the room waiting for us. To be honest, they all kind of swarmed us and I had no idea which one was my mother! Then her younger brother (my uncle) introduced us to her and she squeezed SangKwun and me tight. She speaks no English, so SangKwun and my uncle had to serve as interpreters. There was a lot that I missed due to the language barrier, but I was mostly happy just to see who she is.

The first thing she said to me was that I was too skinny and need to eat more. (Is there some sort of a theme with this? My birth father said the exact same thing to me upon first meeting me.)

The night seemed mostly focused around how SangKwun and I look and what we're up to now. It was decided that I look more like my birth father. And after looking at the pictures again, I have to agree. What do you think?

Here are the 3 of us. I think SangKwun favors her more lookwise.

Here we are with my Uncle.

Birth Mother Uncle

Here we are with her best friend.

Birth Mother & Best Friend

The most moving part of the night was hearing about the pain that they endured in giving me up. Sometimes it's easy to forget how deeply adoption affects people on the other side -- the birth family.

I was told that when I was given up for adoption, she and my birth father were extremely poor. They were so poor that they couldn't even afford to buy milk for me. The decision to give me up was so difficult, it caused them to argue and eventually to separate. I always thought about how hard it would be to give up a child, but hearing that really makes me realize how truly torn they were and what a horrible dilemma they were faced with. I mean, I was a major part of their family -- she was even telling me the nickname they had for me around the house.

My uncle was only in middle school when I was a baby, but from hearing him talk, it sounds like we were close. He even said he remembered that I have a freckle on my leg... I do! When he went to school, he would carry me on his back and take me with him. And when they informed him that I was being given up for adoption, he cried.

My mother just kept looking at me and telling me that she was so sorry and that she prayed for me and SangKwun every day. She also hadn't lost that maternal instinct as she couldn't stop touching me most of the night.


I hope that last night can be the start of a new relationship. I know it's cliche to say this, but I just feel so incredibly blessed. When I began this journey, I felt lucky to have one set of loving parents. Now I can honestly say that I have two sets of parents -- one that gave me birth, one that raised me -- but both that will be forever in my heart.


Jennelle said...

I'm so glad it went well!

Carey said...

What an amazing story Kim! truly amazing. She is a beautiful woman!

Jen said...

Congratulations, Kim. That sounds like an amazing experience, and I'm so glad you we're able to learn where you come from. It must be really refreshing to have this memory. Love!

PS: You're right, SangKwun looks exactly like your birth mother.

Julia said...

This made me tear up, Kimmie! I am SO happy you have this new connection in your life. I still can't believe you found your birth mom! And I agree with you--I don't think you guys look alike but SangKwun definitely looks like her! How hilarious about their comments on you being a twig....did you tell them once a doctor ordered you to have a beer every night with dinner to gain weight? :)

SO so so happy for you. This experience has been amazing to watch from afar, so I can't imagine how incredible it's been to live. I BETTER hear about a ticket purchase home soon, though! :)

Mom said...

Kim, what a beautiful story! I couldn't help but shed a few tears when I read it. We have often thought about your birth-mother, and are just so grateful for the sacrifice she and birth-father made by placing you for adoption. As you stated you have been incredibly blessed with two sets of parents who love you. Hope you see her again, before you leave.

Mica said...

I'm so glad that this was a positive experience for you! It must have been really crazy to see three women and not know which one was your mom. Thank you for sharing this with everyone. It really reminded me why I'm in the midst of a birth parent search.

(To answer the question from your comment: I am at least coming to Korea in May for a visit, so I hope that my impending presence will spur the adoption agency's search department into action. Additionally, I had been in contact with GOAL, but the person with whom I was corresponding has stopped responding to my e-mails. I'm afraid I offended him or something...)

Mom J. said...

How can anyone comprehend how emotional this was for all three of you. I do know that your birth-mother had to be very impressed with the incredibly wonderful woman you have become. I am so happy for you.

Aunt Carol said...

What an incredible story! How blessed you are, Kim -- such a gift for all of you! And yes, your brother looks exactly like your birth Mom! I am so happy for all of you!

Frank said...


I am very happy for you. I know you wanted this to happen before you left Seoul.

Maggie said...


So happy that you had such an amazing experience. What an experience and emotional whirlwind! It was very brave of you to do that and I'm glad everything went so well!

Miss you,

Melissa Koski said...

That is wonderful Kim! I am so happy for you!

Melissa said...

Hi Kim!

My name is Melissa...I tried to email you, but I couldn't access it. I'd love to correspond with you a bit more. I reunited with my Omma and Appa last year (however, similar to your situation, they are not together).

I enjoy connecting with other Korean adoptees, in particular others who have reunited with their biological families. I'd love to "compare notes."

I'll be reading through your blog some more, but I hope that we can correspond directly. My email is

I have a blog also at

It seems to me that my experience has been somewhat different from yours, but that's why I'd love to correspond...the more adoptees I meet who have reunited, it seems that each experience is completely individual and unique. The more I learn, the more I feel that I am able to grasp the adoptee experience more accurately and wholely...

Hope to hear from you...Thanks!