by - November 29, 2017

November is recognized as Adoption Awareness Month in the US and I wanted to share our adoption story as this month is coming to an end.

On my husband's 39th birthday, November 17th, 2014 he went to work as usual and opened his email to the biggest birthday surprise of his life. He received an email from one of his clients who work with exploited women in Korea that there was a healthy boy born just a day before and he needs a home. The client asked my husband if we would take him in. As soon as he read this email, he called me and said, "God just gave me a birthday gift." Even before he asked me, I said yes. 

We were open, but weren't seeking to adopt at that time. We had two young children ages three and one and a half and we were struggling as it was. But as soon as I saw the baby's picture, I knew he was going to be my son. I can't explain it fully; it was just a mother's instinct. 

Ironically, Korea is struggling with one of the lowest birthrates in the world, but also has one of the highest abortion rates even though abortion is illegal here. The abandonment of new born babies also has been on the rise the last couple of years. The two main issues are the cultural stigma of single mothers and the new Korean Adoption Law that came into effect in 2012. Single mothers are discriminated by society and even ostracized by their own family members for bringing shame to their family. On top of this, the well-intended Korean Adoption Law states that every adopted children has to be registered on their family registry because they should have the right to their adoption records. What this means is that before the new law, a single woman who was pregnant could potentially have the baby and give the baby up for adoption in secret without her friends and family ever finding out. But now, they must ask their parents to put the baby in their family registry if they want to put their baby up for adoption. Many times this is harder to do than abandoning the baby in this shame based culture. I have heard that even when they stir up the courage to tell their parents, it's the parents that encourage their daughters to abandon the baby. An abandon baby cannot be adopted in Korea nor overseas. 

I cannot share the full details of my child's birth mother's story, but it's a very typical situation that I described. A single woman kept a secret that she is pregnant from her family and friends. She didn't know what to do and reached out for help to a nonprofit that helps single mothers. But luckily her mother found out and agreed that adoption was the best option for her daughter and the baby. So, we brought him home just one month after his birth and that was three years ago. We just celebrated his 3rd birthday November this year. And let me just say, it was the toughest 3 years of our marriage. We had a 3 year old, 19 month old and 1 month old without any family to help. We were in survival mode. We spent most of our savings on adoption fees. We brought our baby home without a guarantee that he was ever going to be legally ours. The judge could deny us at any given moment. The baby was sick and had to be admitted to the hospital twice his first year. All this while still working, applying for adoption papers, and trying to provide a normal life for our kids. My husband and I were physically and emotionally drained. But it's also been three good years. Now, that we can take a breather and look back, I can't believe how small my kids were. I can't believe how much they have grown. I can't believe how much they love each other. I can't believe we survived. I can't believe the amount of love and support we received from our community here. Looking back, where we are now is nothing short of a miracle.  

Adoption is not for everyone and our case was not a typical adoption. It came out of nowhere without much time to prepare. We can't always plan for life and it doesn't always come at the most opportune time. Perhaps the unexpected and hard things in life are what allows us to believe in miracles. The last three years were tough, but as we experience the joys of celebrating our son's 3rd birthday, we wouldn't have it any other way.

"A child born to another woman calls me mom. The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me." -Jody Landers 

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  1. You two are amazing people. Congratulations on your lovely lovely family and thank you for sharing.

  2. Love this post =) thank you guys for always inspiring us to be better

    1. Thanks for always being a phone call away! Appreciate your support and friendship.

  3. Thank you for sharing! Erin and I are inspired by your courage and so thankful you went ahead of us. We are preparing our hearts for our own adoption story.