“I reproached myself for being so bad, and cried with my heart aching and tearing apart. I thought about raising you by myself, but it would be hard, especially in Korea, where the Confucian ideas are deeply rooted in society. So, I decided to send you to meet good parents who could make you happy. I was in agony and despair, but now I have decided to
live just praying for you . . .Finally, I will not ask you to forgive me, the one who had to send you away like this. I just wish that someday, when you get to be the age of a mother, you can understand me. From far away I will pray for your happiness, my beautiful princess.” These heart wrenching words were written by a young birth mother residing at the Ae Ran Won Home for unwed mothers in Seoul, South Korea. This particular letter—along with many more like it—were written by birth mothers living at Ae Ran Won, and are featured in the powerful little book, “I Wish for You a Beautiful Life” (Sara Dorow, editor). I highly recommend this book, which gives a “heart’s eye view” into the thoughts and feelings of birth mothers who must relinquish their children for adoption.
Many adopted children also carry the pain and grief of separation from their birth mothers. Some intercountry adoptees I interviewed shared their thoughts and feelings: Nasim, from India shares: “I have had a lot of grief and sadness when thinking about the loss for my mom. I would say I cry every time I think about not knowing what my mom looked like, and not knowing whether I still have a family or not.” Ivanka, from Romania adds, “As a child I longed to know my biological mother to the point I would do anything to find her. I was heartbroken not to know my family, because I longed to be loved, to be touched, to be held, and those things were a vital part of my life that I missed out on.” Andrew, from Russia reflects, “I did experience loss for my great grandmother. It was difficult knowing that one of the only people who cared for me passed away and I was not able to say goodbye. Even to this day I regret not being able to visit her gravesite.”
Friends, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. For those of us adoptive parents, let us be sensitive if our child(ren) struggle during this holiday. Please say a prayer for the untold number of birth mothers (and grandmothers) and their children—not just abroad, but also in this country—who will never see each other again, at least in this life. Pray for their comfort and peace.
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