Friday, January 30, 2009

a Break


The following is an excerpt from an email that I received last night from my contact at Dillon International:

...She is going to send the pictures of the birth parents, the letters of the birth mother and the letter of the birth mother’s sister to us soon. The birth mother wrote two letters for you and one is written before she received your letter and the other is written after receiving your letter.

I hope we receive the letters and photos from Eastern soon.

I understand you. It is really hard to wait to hear from someone whom you have been wanting to know for a long time. I hope this update helps you while you are waiting for the letters and photos. It is new that the birth mother’s sister wrote a letter to you. It seems the birth mother talked her sister about you. Like you I look forward to receiving the letters and photos. I will let you know immediately as soon as I receive them from Eastern...


I am relieved at least for the slow silence to break for a moment...

Of course, I am anxious to receive the letters from my birth mother and her sister/my aunt...

And I keep trying to remind myself just how fortunate I am to have found my birth parents...and how lucky I am that they actually want to know me...

I cannot underestimate the wonder and fortune of this outcome, regardless of how slowly things may progress and what complexities and mishaps may ensue...

No matter what may follow, I must remember that this is what I have longed for and wept for all these years...

When I grow weary or impatient or ungrateful, I must remember all that my eyes have seen and all that my heart is experiencing...

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I am frantic I am coming unraveled My skin cannot contain me This tempest of thought and emotion It is every kind of storm It is the sun burrowing its heat through these temples and chest It is the rain stinging as it slaps against arms and legs It is the snow--with a cold burn--seeping into face and lips It is the thunder--seismic and roaring--quaking through these ears I am about to split Wide open A rupture--Thick and ill A wound--that has been desperate to spill Wide open Is this heart It will stomp its way to find its beat and learn to drum again You will hear it through its chest Calling to its lost land Heavy and perfect reaching for life and motion with sweat and blood dripping from its hands

Monday, January 26, 2009

blood in my Dinner


Reality showed up again. That sneaky little cat.


But I was glad that it showed up this time. It still refuses to enter through the front door, but I think perhaps I am beginning to find its clumsy and wild entrances somewhat charming, if not at least entertaining and adventurous.


It was just supposed to be dinner.

But it ended up being one of those nights that, well, everything felt as though it was going wrong.

The chicken was doing something funky and grotesque:

Blood kept boiling out through this tiny tear in the leg quarter. All I could do was stare, as it pulsed and bubbled.

The more I stared, the more it kept bleeding out, dribbling down into the sauce on the bottom of the corning ware dish.

I began to feel nauseous and not hungry.


Really, though, all the bleeding had nothing to do with the chicken. And everything going wrong had nothing to do with dinner.


I thought it was anger that was making the chicken bleed. I thought it was the ruined dinner that had ignited all the rage.

But the anger was only a front, and it was making the bleeding worse.

Really, it was the hurt. The terror.

Coupled with good old Fear and Hope.

And here's what the chicken was saying:

I'm afraid that they're going to let go of me.

I'm afraid that now that I have found my biological mother and father, they're going to think that I am leaving them.

And then-- they will leave me.

Hope slides in next to Fear and smiles--pats Fear on the arm and remarks that being Hope and all, it can reassure us that Love knows how to stop this kind of bleeding.


I pick up the phone.

Mom, Dad?


I still have a lot to learn about love.

It possesses a strength that no body can comprehend.
It is more true than any truth I have ever encountered.
Its resilience comforts my weakness.
Its willingness brings me to tears.

I begin to wonder if I have ever truly allowed myself to know love.

To let love...

People like to romanticize love, diminish it into nothing but an emotion.

It is so much more than emotion.
It is so much more than romance.
It is so much more than anyone or anything could ever attempt to explain.

The most powerful love is the love born of choice.

That one should so choose of his or her own volition to love another.

To love
a stranger as though she is your very own flesh and blood.


Gladly, I need not fear that I should bleed.

The day that I arrived, someone made a choice to be there always, not only to hold me when I should bleed, but to always, until the end of time, be the blood that pulses and courses through my very heart.


And this is a Reality that I will welcome with open arms...even if it does come crashing through the window.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

no Words


Almost three weeks have rattled on since the News.

Still such little steps.

I feel like a turtle.


There are tears in me that have never found their way out. Should they ever, such will be both my deepest pain and my utmost joy.

Each day, I feel these tears within me gathering, congregating, waiting for their turn to roll over the edge and onto my face.

While I am at work, I scold them and tell them to crawl back into their reservoir, as they cling to my eyelashes and to the corners of my eyes. I tell them that they cannot let go. Not yet.

This is not the time. This is not the place.

And still I have yet to brace
myself for their outpouring.




At a time.

But I am a fool to think that I can reign over such tears. They have a will all their own--not prone to obedience or conformity. They do as they please.

In some ways, I am my tears.

In other ways, I wish to squeeze these tears between my fingers until they are no more.

I am nauseous.
I have learned to swallow even that which makes me sick.


As I have observed in a previous writing ("The Doctor"), it is my personal experience that fear and hope seem to possess an affinity for one another.

Or at least they behave as the protons and electrons within the same atoms of the same molecules of the same elements that compose this organism referred to as Life (I'm so cliche).

All my hopes and fears are tumbling out before me. Crowding me. Loud. Buzzing. Shoulder to shoulder. Smashing glasses. Some are laughing. Some are screaming. Some sit eerily and quietly in the darker corners of the room.

I stare them each straight in the eyes. I will deal with you.


If only I could bend my molecules and atoms, and protons and electrons to behave in a way that is more to my liking, to my timing, to my thinking.

I give way to illusion to deceive myself to think that I could wield such power wisely and safely. Rather, I think I would then become my own destruction, my own demise.

And that is ultimately not that which I seek.

It is the peace of life that so often eludes me that tempts me to think in such ways.


When will I see your face to mine, close enough to read your thoughts, to feel your emotion? When will I hear your voice, clearly enough to discern your intentions, to unravel your truth? When will I see your eyes, the windows and lamps into your sentiments and secrets?

This is not mine to know.
You are not mine to have.

Simultaneously I long to run to you and to escape from you.

These games I inflict upon myself.


What are you thinking? Will you be honest with me? What do you want from me? What do I want from you? Who are you? Who are you to me? What boxes and traps have I already set for you? And you for me? What kinds of dances will we dance around one another? What kinds of passivities and formalities will we endure? Am I asking too much? Of course I am. I always do. I am a great expectation. And I expect nothing less.

This is false. This is not true.

I am the one who falls beneath the weight and glory of great expectation. I am the one who wilts and droops, like flowers underfoot. I will disappoint. But disappointment will not bleed its way to failure.

I will fan the wounds. Until the red pool stiffens.
And the firm shell is strong enough.
To stave off the infection of failure.

It will heal.


And the seeds of these flowers must fall to the ground and die. Before they break open to deliver all the color of the life that they were born to live.

I will hope knowing that my expectations are only such. And expectations must learn to adapt.

I will embrace what is real while I cling to what is good.


I write thousands of words. Without saying a thing.

For there are no words.


There are no words.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009



It has been exactly a week since I got the phone call that my birth mother and birth father are alive, living in Korea, and waiting to meet me.

Ever since that moment, life has been a whirlwind in some ways. And in other ways, it has been moving painstakingly slow.


The first step toward contact, at this point, is to exchange photos and letters through the agency.

I have already emailed the agency a handful of photographs ranging from my childhood through adulthood.

I composed the individual letters to each one of my birth parents over the weekend, and fortunately found a dear, selfless soul who was willing to translate them for me. I forwarded the translated versions to Duk at Dillon, and she in turn, forwarded them to Mrs. K in Korea.

Now, I, myself, am anxiously awaiting the reception of photographs and letters from my birth mother and birth father.

To set my eyes on their faces and to read their words for the first time is going to be an absolutely inexplicable and intense moment.

All of my life, I have tried to imagine and conjure up images in my mind of what their faces might look like. But I could never see anything.

Now, very soon I will be holding photos of their faces in my fingertips, and hopefully, will soon be able to touch their faces.


As I searched through all of my photos, I began to wonder what my birth mother and birth father would think about my appearance. Will I be pretty in their eyes? Or will I be ugly? Will they be disappointed? Or will they be pleased?

And then I began to wonder what there initial impressions of me would be? Am I going to be too American for their liking? Are they going to be upset or disgusted that I do not speak Korean and that I am not a big fan of kimchee?

One of the first things they requested to know about me is whether I am married and is my husband Korean? I laughed out loud and delighted in this first encounter with the inquiries and concerns of typical Korean parents.
Truly, this is surreal. Fortunately, I am married. However, he is not anywhere close to being Korean.


Our poor mediator in Korea, Mrs. K, got sick and has been out of the office since last week. She is expected to return this Friday.

Until then, we must simply wait.

In the meantime, each day feels like a year.

if You would Like to Give


Should you choose to give, please choose the option with which you feel most comfortable:

1. If you prefer, you can give directly to Dillon International
  • If you choose this option make checks payable to “Dillon International” and be sure to denote on the check that it is for “Michael & Melissa Konomos” “Adult Adoptee Birthland Tour” or else it will be accepted as a general donation to the overall agency.
  • Address: Dillon International, Inc., Attention: Angela Kopplin, Tours, 3227 East 31st Street, Suite 200, Tulsa, OK 74105 (Phone: 918/749-4600, Fax: 918/749-7144)
  • Another note: Unfortunately, Dillon is not able to accept money for the tours as charitable donations, and therefore cannot provide a tax receipt—sorry!
2. You can give through the blog using PayPal. Just click on the "Donate" button on my blog.

3. You can give directly to me.
  • If you choose the option to give directly to me, simply make contact via the email located in my profile, and I will give the appropriate information.
  • (I understand that by sending a check directly to me, you are also giving me your trust. I want you to be confident that I will in no way abuse your kindness. Any amount given whether small or large will be used solely and only for the expenses of the travel/reunion. Should you have any concerns or questions or want more detailed information, PLEASE do not hesitate to contact me! Again, thank you for your time and consideration!)



General Expense Summary:

1. Birthland Tour $7000 (total includes both of us)
2. Domestic airfare and hotel $1000 (total includes both of us)
3. Additional expenses $1000 (total includes both of us)

Total Cost: $9000

Note: All fees must be received by May 9, 2008 in order to participate in this summer’s tour.

The first $3800 is due by March 20, 2008 to secure airfare. (If we are unable to raise the fees in time for this year's tour, we will apply the money raised toward next year's tour.)

More Detailed Explanation:

1. $3500 Birthland Tour fee* per person
  • Dates of Tour/Travel: June 24-July 5 (also June 23 and July 6 for domestic travel)
  • (Includes: airfare from L.A., hotel, 1 -2 meals a day, and various activities and services; does not include domestic airfare, but the agency can secure both the domestic airfare & hotel at a very reasonable rate as described below.)

The following is excerpted directly from the brochure for the Korea Tour:

One of the many milestones in an adoptee’s life is the decision
to visit his or her birth country. Dillon International’s
birthland tour offers a complete tour package for all families,
regardless of agency used for adoption placement, that allows
participants to experience their birth country’s culture,
heritage and people in-depth. This journey is a great financial
and emotional commitment allowing adopted persons an
opportunity to learn more about their origins.

Tour includes:
♦ Small travel groups (20–30 persons)
♦ International airfare
♦ Accommodations (based on double occupancy)
♦ Visit to Eastern Social Welfare Society or other agency
♦ Admission fees to scheduled events with 1-2 meals per day
♦ Professional, English-speaking guides
♦ Staff of social workers, adopted adults and/or adoptive
♦ Transportation during scheduled tour activities
♦ Hands-on cultural learning experiences
♦ Resources to assist you in preparing for your journey
♦ Pre-trip orientation
♦ Counseling support

Tour does not include side trips, individual purchases and gifts
or individual tips.

♦ Side trip excursions available during free days
♦ Search services (certain age restrictions apply)
♦ Domestic airfare arrangement for a reasonable rate

For a more detailed description visit

2.*$1000 Domestic airfare & hotel:
  • The actual Tour fee is $3500 per person. However, the airfare covered by the fee departs from L.A. My husband and I live in GA. So we would also need to pay for airfare from Altanta to L.A. and from L.A to Atlanta, as well as a hotel room in L.A. for the night before we leave for Seoul and the night after we return from Seoul.

3. Additional fees/expenses:
  • Food & miscellaneous $400 - $600 (according to the tour director)
  • Support services: There are additional fees for facilitation of birth family meetings & interactions
  • Fee for successful reunion with birth family: $200
  • Facilitate meeting with birth family/parent: $65 per meeting
  • Visit to orphanage, birth places, or foster home: $50

Go to for more information on search fees

NOTE: The goal of this fund-raising effort was attained in early April of 2009! I have retained this information on my blog in recognition of all those who supported the fund-raising efforts of 10X900, and simply because it is a part of my story and journey....

Help a Korean Adoptee
Reunite with Her Birth Family

The Story

As some of you already know, my name is Melissa, and I am a Korean adoptee.

However, what may not know is that I have recently discovered that both my birth mother and birth father are alive, living in Korea, and waiting to meet me!

The story began thirty-three years ago in Seoul, Korea in 1975--the year I was born and subsequently relinquished for adoption.

Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long for a family, and by the age of six months I had been adopted into a loving American family.

I spent the majority of my life believing that I had been abandoned without any trace of information or record of my birth parents’ identities or histories. I spent most of my life believing that any effort to locate my birth mother, and even more so my birth father, would be utterly futile.

However, six years ago, with the unexpected but loving provocation by a friend, I initiated a search for my birth mother through my two agencies—understanding that, realistically and statistically, I should hold no expectation to think that my birth mother could be found.

What I did possess, however, was all the hope and imagination that my heart could muster, or at least enough to cultivate the expectation that, every once in a while, the impossible becomes possible.

And indeed, I am experiencing this first hand!

As dumbfounding and surreal as it still seems, I am so astounded and grateful to be able to say that BOTH my birth mother and birth father have been found! They are alive and waiting in Korea to meet me! Unbelievable!

This has been the most emotionally exhilarating as well as perplexing journey of my life! And in some ways it is only beginning. How I have longed for the day to come that I would be able to meet my birth mother face to face, to be able to touch her hand, hear her laugh, know her tears, see her smile.

And now, I am completely overwhelmed with disbelief and wonder that I have the rare and phenomenal opportunity not only to reunite with my birth mother but also with my birth father!

The Need

As you can imagine, this is an astronomical and thrilling feat emotionally and spiritually.

As you can also imagine, it is an astronomical and thrilling financial undertaking as well.

After researching our options and seeking advice and feedback, we believe that the best option for safely and successfully reuniting with my birth parents/family will be to go through my adoption agencies, Dillon International and Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS) on a “Birthland Tour.”

Going through the agencies will provide the guidance, knowledge, experience, support and services of the staff and social workers—who have been doing this for years—that such a life-changing and delicate event requires.

Although this is such a joyous and long-awaited for occasion, I’m sure you can imagine that it is also a complex and fragile occasion—not to be dealt with lightly or carelessly—due to not only the emotional complexities but also to the cultural differences and complexities. The ability to have experienced social workers and staff available to help mediate is crucial to establishing a successful and long-term reunion.

Note: (For more details about my adoption story, you can read the posts under "a journal: the road to meeting my birth parents.")

The Concept

I've included information regarding the expenses for the trip to Korea in the post titled " the Expenses." As you will realize, this trip is going to require a large sum of funds. However, we all know that with many, a large task can magically become small.

Here’s the concept: ultimately, if we can find 900 people willing to contribute $10 each, then we’ll be able to raise enough money to cover ALL of the expenses for both my husband, Mike, and me to travel to Korea to reunite with my birth parents/family! When you think of it that way, it seems absolutely possible!

I realize that this is no small request. I am humbled even to have to ask, and yet I am compelled to do so. I know that trying to find 900 people willing to give $10 is asking a lot. There are so many causes and needs in our world today. And in light of those causes and needs, my situation may seem minuscule and trite. I understand this.

And yet, also in light of all the causes and needs out there, this is one that has a happy ending. This is one in which hope can become reality. This is one in which all of the pain and suffering, all of the tears and longing have found their purpose.

The Happy Ending

It is not every day that a story like this unfolds. It is not every day that we get to witness the impossible becoming possible.

It is not every day that we can be a part of a happy ending.

With all the darkness and hurt that we witness, this is a story that can at least for a moment, remind us all that darkness and hurt can be overcome and transformed into something meaningful, beautiful, something inspirational.

Even if you are not able to give $10, every little bit helps. And if you are not able to help financially, then please help us with your thoughts and prayers. Every bit counts!

Again, for any questions about the total cost, view the summary of the expenses. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me through my blog (if you click on my profile in the blog, it has a link to my email address). Also, for further details regarding my story, read the posts under "a journal: the road to meeting my birth parents."

Ultimately, thank you for even taking the time and being willing to read this! My deep appreciation and thanks!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Promise

Over the years as I searched for my birth mother, the following song,
The Promise, by Tracy Chapman would always make me think of her, and subsequently bring tears to my eyes. I'm sure that it is intended to be a love song between a man and a woman. Yet the words always seemed to express so well for me the deep longing that I felt for my birth mother...As I would listen to the words, I would wonder whether she had ever held me, ever embraced me, ever kissed my face before relinquishing me.

I would wonder if she was on the other side of the world in Korea thinking of and dreaming of me as I thought and dreamed of her.

And now?

Now that I have discovered that she is alive and that she wishes to see me again, these lyrics are all the more poignant and stirring. I hope that we will both be able to know the other's embrace, that we will be able to return to one another and fill that space in each of our hearts that never knew, until now, what had come of the other...

If you wait for me, then I'll come for you Although I've traveled far I always hold a place for you in my heart If you think of me If you miss me once in a while then I'll return to you I'll return and fill that space in your heart Remembering your touch Your kiss Your warm embrace I'll find my way back to you If you'll be waiting If you dream of me like I dream of you In a place that is warm and dark In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart Remembering your touch Your kiss Your warm embrace I'll find my way back to you If you'll be waiting I've longed for you and I have desired To see your face your smile To be with you Wherever you are Remembering your touch your kiss Your warm embrace I'll find my way back to you Please say you'll be waiting Together again It would feel so good to be In your arms Where all my journeys end If you can make a promise If it's one that you can keep I vow to come for you If you wait for me And say you'll hold A place for me In your heart...

Sunday, January 11, 2009



Reality opened fire on me today.

Well, perhaps that's a bit extreme.
I apologize, Reality.
I know you're not out to get me.

It's more like Reality came crashing through the window--covered in shards of glass with a buffoonish smile brandished on its face, and its arms wide open as if to say, Hey! I'm here! Sorry about the mess.

It means no harm. Reality, well, just has never been the best at being very discerning, and tact is most definitely not one of its better qualities. And Reality simply never learned the etiquette to wait for a more convenient time.

It has no intentions other than to simply be there to make sure you actually know what's going on.

My thanks, Reality. Certainly, I would be deceived and lost without you.


I finally broke down in tears this morning--I think my body just could hold back no longer--from the shear overload and the incapacity to process all that is transpiring.

This breaking news--and it is breaking me--that my birth parents are still alive, living in Korea--they want to meet me--how do I even begin to comprehend, to take it all in?


It feels like I'm in a lightning storm. The simultaneous display of utter beauty and terror, power and fragility. The horrific show of dazzling shocks of electricity breaking through and lighting up the sky. The thunderous bellows cracking and rolling as if the entire earth is about to crumble.

Each time the sky explodes, a zing of thrill and trembling bursts into my body sending chills tingling through my chest and spine all the way to my fingertips.

In all its performance of glory and power, it is also ominous and menacing. I am flooded with a sense of awe and inspiration, yet fear and panic, as I gaze into the sky.


This is the most joyous, overwhelming, rousing, perplexing, alarming, unfathomably unexpected news I have ever received.

And when I say that it is breaking me--it's not breaking me like a broken arm kind of breaking. It is breaking me in a butterfly-breaking-out -of-its-chrysalis kind of way. I know that when I emerge, I will be transformed, able to attain to a new and unfettered realm of flight and freedom.

But I know that such an emergence will not take place without painstaking and exhausting strife and effort.

This is like a fairy tale in a sense, but more of an epic fairy tale filled with drama, with tragedy, with affliction. And the conclusion, the "happily ever after" will not come without fighting for it and making certain decisions about how I am going to conduct myself through this journey.

I just need to take one step at a time.

Weep when I need to weep. Laugh when I need to laugh.


And when Reality comes crashing through that window again, I need not be startled. Rather, I can simply ask Reality to have a seat on the couch. Chat with it for a little while.

Then, when the conversation begins to run dry, excuse myself, get up, and move on with my day.

And as Reality rises to leave, ask it ever so politely, if it could please be so kind as to enter through the front door the next time it decides to pay me a visit.

Friday, January 9, 2009

the 7th day of January 2009

"Darkness cannot shut me in again. I have had a glimpse of the shore, and can now live by the hope of reaching it." Helen Keller

I am telling myself to remember this day.

The seventh day of January in the ninth year of the second millennium.

This is the day that my life took a sharp and stunning turn into the surreal and astounding, the fantastical and the breathtaking.

This is the day in which all of my tears and aching, all of my longing and seeking, all of my pain, my desperation, my anguish, my torment found their purpose, their meaning.

This is the day that hope finally won over fear.

This is the day that being a nonsense kind of girl finally made sense.

This is the day that the imagination and fantasy of a naive and idealistic fool of love put to death doubt and cynicism.

This is the day that I will always look back on to remind myself that the impossible is possible.

This is the day that all was overcome.

I am telling myself to remember this day.

And yet, I trust that there is no need to train my mind to remember this day, for surely, how could I ever forget such a day?

This day that the shore has come within my reach.
This day that the darkness can shut me in no longer.
This day of conquering and transcendence.

This astonishing day of believing disbelief that I discovered that both my birth mother and my birth father are not only alive and living in Korea, but that they desire to meet me and to know me!

Can you believe this incredible and stupefying happening?

What words, what expression of emotion could ever adequately impart the depth of elation, of awe, of wonderment?

They are alive.
They are well.

They are waiting for me...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

the Finding


Have you ever heard the story about the poor urban girl whose family tried to force her to use her beauty to become the second wife of a rich man in the city, but she loved another?

Neither had I.

Until one seemingly mundane afternoon...


My wedding band lost one of its stones over the holidays. Fortunately, we recovered the stone and were able to get it repaired.

I got a phone call that the ring was ready.

So, the next day--my day off--early in the afternoon, I walked out of the jewelry store after picking up the renovated ring, hopped in the car, and headed to the store to pick up some odds and ins.

As I made my way to the store, I heard a familiar sound, although muffled. It sounded like the radio. The radio wasn't on.

Duh. It was my cell phone humming, stuffed in the pocket of my purse. I dug it out.


Area code 918?

I don't know anyone with this area code.

Every time I see an unfamiliar phone number flashing on my cell phone face, two primary trains of thought sound through my mind. I don't know who this is, so I'm not answering it--besides, they'll leave a message if it's important.

The other train that sounds its bells?

I wonder if it's someone who knows something about my birth mother?

Although I didn't know the number, there was something vaguely familiar about 918. I was thinking, hoping that perhaps 918 was the area code where Dillon International, my American adoption agency, has its headquarters.

I could feel my heart begin to beat a little faster.

I answered, "Hello? This is Melissa."

"Hello? Is this Melissa?"

"Yes, this is Melissa." I had never heard this voice before, but I somehow knew this voice.

"This is Duk with Dillon."

"Duk!!! Oh! Yes, it's so nice to finally hear your voice. All this time only communicating through email, it's so nice to now know what your voice sounds like!"

It was the representative from Dillon International with whom I had been corresponding for the past six plus years. This is the first time I had ever received an actual phone call from her.

I felt the sense that something paramount was about to transpire.

I pulled over and turned off my car.

And suddenly, the news I had been waiting for all of my life began to stream into my ears.

"We have found your birth mother and your birth father...Yes, your birth mother wants to meet you, and your birth father, also..."

I realized that my life was never going to be the same.


I cannot even begin to explain all the emotion that continues to course through my every cell since that phone call almost three days ago.

How does anyone even begin to process such an event?

After six long years, and really a lifetime of longing and desperation, after searching and aching for some one who seemed ever-elusive and almost fictional--how do I even start to comprehend this new knowledge, this unexpected yet long hoped for discovery? With each second that passes, my life is changing.


Over the past seven years, there has been failed attempt after failed attempt to identify or locate both my birth mother and birth father. The name the agency had on file for my birth mother is not an unusual name in Korea, and the agency also was not certain as to whether the name they had on file was her real name.

At one point, Mrs. K had tried to contact ten different women via telegram who matched my birth mother's name and approximate age. But none of the ten women came forward claiming to be my birth mother.

There were times that I felt like giving up. There were long stretches during which I could do no more--I just could not bear the emotional drain and exhaustion any longer. And yet, I could never completely give up. Something, some one compelled me always to return to the search, to continue seeking out the truth.

Duk tells me that Mrs. K, the representative who works for the agency in Korea (ESWS, or simply, Eastern), finally decided as a last attempt to enlist the help of a Korean police officer who has helped in the past with birth family searches.

She gave the officer the information she had regarding my birth mother.

It goes to show that so much in life is all about timing.

The police officer accessed his system and found several women who seemed to match the information given to him by Mrs. K.

He in turn passed on the contact information for these women to Mrs. K.

Mrs. K began to contact these women one by one. And finally, as though, this was simply the time it was meant to come together, she found herself speaking with the woman who would be discovered to be my birth mother.

Why this attempt, after seven years of previously failed attempts, finally resulted in success is beyond my comprehension.

But what I do comprehend is how incredibly fortunate I am.

There are those who wait all of their lives to have just a glimmer of such a hope. Now, with each minute that passes, I am being given the opportunity to experience more than just a glimmer--my eyes are being filled with the light of hope. I am being given the grace to experience the fruition and consummation of a lifelong hope.

Truly I am humbled by such a grace.

Who am I that I should be granted such fulfillment?


As of yet, the story seems to go something like this...

My birth father and birth mother met while they were still teenagers.

It seems that my birth mother was quite beautiful in the eyes of the Korean men in her town. So much so that her mother and older sisters thought that she could use her beauty to lure the affections of a rich Korean man to take her as his second wife.

But my birth mother did not agree with this plan for her life.

So she ran away with my birth father, and they lived together without being married.

She became pregnant.

And suddenly, my birth father found himself in circumstances beyond his control, unable to care for my mother or the child on the way.

While my birth father was incapacitated, she gave birth to me and subsequently relinquished me for adoption without his knowledge.

She met another man whom she eventually decided to marry. Only several months after giving birth to me, she bore this man a daughter. Five years later, she bore him a second daughter.

Once my birth father recovered from his circumstances, he searched for my birth mother only to discover what had become of her and the first child she had bore.

He, too, eventually married someone else.

I have been told that they wanted to find me but failed to do so. That they have thought about me through the years.

Both my birth mother and Mrs. K think I have a striking resemblance to my birth father. He told Mrs. K that he is a member of the Harley Davidson Lovers' Club and that he enjoys sports and the outdoors. I have always loved motorcycles. I have always enjoyed all kinds of sports from snow skiing to rock climbing. I played soccer and tennis in high school. I love moutain biking and hiking. I love nature and the outdoors.

I cannot help but wonder what else I may have in common with each of my birth parents--and also in what ways we differ from one another. I wonder what other characteristics of my physical self and psychological self will correlate with my birth parents.

And I wonder where this journey is now going to take all of us...for it has only just begun...