Adoptees from the small Ilmagwon Orphanage in Gunsan, South Korea, are connecting after almost forty years!
My two adopted daughters, Gina and Treasure, and I returned to Korea for the first time in 2012. I was in Korea from 1972 to 1974, living several months in the orphanage. We met the same woman, Mrs. Park, who ran the orphanage while we lived there. The one who cared for hundreds of babies and children is now 91 years old but she remembered us. This godly caretaker had prayed for her babies and their adopted families.
I sat in the orphanage office and looked at a photo album with baby pictures. Each abandoned baby had been assigned a page and a number. I saw baby pictures of my girls on numbers 134 and 141. As I flipped through the pages, I saw babies/toddlers I remembered and I cried. I had spent many hours sitting on the floor holding those babies and hugging those toddlers. What had become of all those bundles I wanted to take home with me and couldn’t?
Most Korean adoptees are from Seoul, so only a few were adopted in the 1970’s from Ilmagwon Orphanage in Gunsan. Men and women from the U.S. Kunsan Air Base “Wolfpack” still visit consistently and help the children. I’m so proud of them. It is not a babies home any more but I think about 70 children live in the orphanage now.
It was amazing, a dream of a lifetime to return to Korea, but the most amazing thing has happened since we returned. Angela from California, another adoptee, who lived in the orphanage at the same time as my daughters, contacted us. She had found us through my blog. She was number 140. She was in the orphanage at the same time as my daughters! She was one of those babies I held! My heart about flipped with joy when I met her for a few minutes in the airport when coming back.
Then another girl wrote, Nikki from Alabama, saying she was also from the same orphanage at the same time. Then Michelle, then Mindy, then another and another.
Eleven of the Korean Adoptees from the 1970’s have found us! They live across the U.S.—from Oklahoma, California, Alabama, Kansas, Texas, New Jersey, and Arkansas! If we had visited Korea ten years ago, this internet connection might never have occurred. Only God can do something like this!
Forty years after I left Korea with two precious little ones, we plan to have an Ilmagwon Sisters reunion – some time in 2014. Mrs. Park will be thrilled to find out these children of hers are connecting and I’ll be glad to give them all a big hug!
You are loved,