After communication issues with the adoption agency acting as a middle man (it’s complicated), I finally received the first letter from my birth family on April 16, 2012. Two months later, I met them in Korea and then moved here after another two months. Visiting Korea and moving here were already planned; it was perfect timing that we finally got in touch. It’s quite personal, but I want to share the letter.
Dear Yoon Hee
I have no idea how to start. I wonder if I could ever be forgiven for what did to you. I have always harbored this hope of meeting you one day for the last 22 years. I have been blaming this harsh destiny that set me and you apart.
Deep down, you have always been on my mind and I have always thought about you. Whenever I think about you, my heart is always consumed with guilt.
Let me tell you what really happened and why I came to the deplorable decision of putting you up for the adoption.
Your dad and I got married in 1977. It was an arranged marriage. We ran a small electronics shop and we had three daughters YuJin, YuMI, VoRa. We barely made ends meet and we were going through financial difficulties. Things took a turn for the worse when your dad guaranteed to pay one of his friends’ debts; the family business went bankrupt and your dad was on the run from debt collectors. When giving birth to you, I went to the hospital on my own without the presence of him.
Around 3 clock in the morning on the 22th of February in 1988, you came into this world. But, with your dad away from home and the financial difficulties that troubled my family, we came to the foolish decision. I wanted you to have a better family, a better life and a better environment that would give you a better, promising future. One week after giving birth to you, we moved to JeonJoo south eastern part of Korea without letting anyone know.
After putting you up for the adoption, I spent so many days crying my heart out regretting my decision. I missed you so much. I was even in depression and attempted suicide. Your dad tried his best to console me telling me that we should start over and turn over a new leaf and we would live in the hopes of meeting you one day and never give up hope.
For next few years in Jeon Joo, the situation got worse; we did not have even the minimum financial means to get by. But we tighten our belt and worked hard to save a penny. A few years went by and we managed to own a small arcade.
Now, we are doing okay, We are not rich but things have gotten a lot better since then. We asked Holt agency to know your news 15 years ago. But at that time you were so young, so we had to wait for you to find us. We are beside ourselves with joy and so thankful that you came to the decision to find us. To be frank, deep down, I always knew that you would find us someday, since your sisters are so tight and love and support one another. I was pretty sure you would miss us. Your sisters miss you so much and want to meet you desperately.
I am so thankful that you grew up to be such a decent, beautiful lady. I think you take so much after me. You look a lot like your sisters too. I could not take my eyes off of your picture with your adoptive parents. I take this photo out from the drawer and look at it time and time again and everytime I see it, I miss you even more.
Your birthday is just around the corner. It is part of Korean tradition to make a seaweed soup to celebrate someone’s birthday. Every year, on your birthday, I make this soup and pray for you wishing that you are in good health and we will meet some day. I saw a photo of you in mount Seolak, we could have met you last time you visited in Korea. I wish you and your sisters become close just like real sisters even though you have spent so many years apart. Your sisters really want to see you and talk about you everyday.
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to your adoptive parents who have raised you with love and care. I wish you will repay their love and become a filial daughter for them. Your parents seem like nice decent people. I assume that you were raised in a good family and received great support and love from your parents. I think you went through a tough period during your adolescent years.
You must have went through an identity crisis and had so many questions that troubled you and even tortured you… about who you are, and where you are from, why you have to live far away from your motherland, and about us, your biological parents. It kills me everytime I imagine how hard it must have been for you.
I don’t deserve to be a parent. I don’t deserve to ask for your forgiveness. No matter what I do, it won’t be enough to redeem myself from my sin.
I have always kept this dismal part of my history to myself. After letting it all out and sharing it with the whole family, we cried our hearts out.
We eagerly awaits for the day of meeting you. On the wall is a picture of my family which is incomplete without you. I want to take a family photo with you and hang it on the wall.
I wish I could see you and show my love to you and put painful past of guilt and misery behind me.
I think we can start a new chapter of our lives only if you forgive us.
From your mom, dad and your sisters.