Last week I was surprised and relieved to receive a letter from my Umma. I learned that my fears were just insecurities and she still feels strongly about having me in her life. After getting her letter, I started to have second thoughts about waiting to visit but... my feelings were eased after a terrible few days of nausea and body aches. I can't imagine traveling across the world, feeling this yucky!
My Umma's letter was so heartfelt and sweet. She always expresses such a motherly concern for me and most of all, her guilt and shame for my relinquishment. I hope someday I can free her of the heavy burden she has held onto all of these years.
Here are our letters...
My dear daughter, Hyo-Eun,
Hot and long summer has finally come to an end, and autumn is already here.
No matter how many times I say how thankful and truly grateful we are to your adoptive parents, it is just not enough to express the gratitude I have for them. It is wonderful to see you being happy in pictures, keeping good relationship with your family.
I have been feeling so much guilt, shame, and regrets over the years since I had to relinquished you for adoption. Oh, how you must have blamed me as you were growing up. However, I am just thankful that you have grown up in such a loving family.
Dear Hyo Eun,
We were all eagerly anticipating to see you this month, but with the news that you had to inevitably change your plan, the whole family here were so sad since we were hoping to see you and hold you in person sooner the better.
I am praying everyday for you and your husband, your daughter who is my grand-daughter. All of us here-me, your sisters (Jin-Hee, Eun-Young, Jin-sook, Eunjeong) and your brother, Heng-hoon talk and think about you and your family every day. I was already 41 when I had your brother. He is now 22, graduated from college. He is serving the military now. He would very much like to meet his youngest older sister.
There is a weekly TV program here in Korea about finding missing family members. Every time I watch it, I cry in thinking of you. I truly hope that pray that we will now be able to have more opportunities to see each other in the future.
Your searching for me lifted all the weight in my heart, and I thank you so much. Knowing that you are well, and exchanging letters like this are more than I have ever wanted.
Hope that you will be a wonderful mother to your daughter, and happy with your husband.
Although there is so much to tell you, I will say ‘bye’ for now, hoping that we will meet soon.
Please send me more pictures of you, and hope to hear from you soon.
My Dear Umma,
I am so deeply sorry and sad that I had to postpone our trip to meet you and the rest of my birth family. It was such an extremely difficult choice to make, but after much prayer and thought – I decided that it was the best decision for our family. I hope you know that even though I had to cancel our trip, my feelings have not changed and I still can’t wait to see you! I was so eager and ready to jump on a plane and fly to see you, but something was holding me back. I wasn’t sure why, but the timing just didn’t feel quite right. Even though I am so sad that I won’t be able to see you this year, I do have good news. You are going to be a grandmother again! I am expecting a baby to arrive in April of 2012. Once I found out this news, I was relieved that we postponed our trip to Korea as I would not have been able to travel so far under these conditions. My prayers were answered and now I know that when we do meet, the time will be right and it will be a beautiful reunion.
So much has happened since my last letter. Our daughter Londyn turned 2 years old in July and is such a joy in my life. She is very talkative, active and just started taking dance lessons.
I am still early in pregnancy and haven’t been feeling very well. I have my first ultrasound tomorrow and am excited to finally see this little baby growing inside my belly. I will keep you updated when I know more!
We had a wonderful Summer of sunshine and heat. Although I am sad to see the sun go, it is nice to have the cooler weather now. The Autumn and Fall seasons are my favorite here in Oregon as the leaves on the trees are so crisp and beautiful. I hope someday you will be able to come visit us.
I am so happy that you wrote in your last letter about my brother Heng-Hoon. Since I haven’t heard from him yet, I was worried maybe he wasn’t ready to have me in his life. I have always been the youngest in my family, so it is very exciting to me to have a younger brother! I admire him so much for his service in the military and pray that he will remain safe. Please tell him I love him.
It still brings me great sadness to hear that you have held on to so much guilt, shame and regret after you placed me for adoption. I never once blamed you as I never had any reason to feel angry or upset. You are an inspiration to me and I hope that I have inherited some of your strength and motherly love. I can promise you that I will see you and hold you very soon. I pray that I will be able to comfort you and assure you of the decision you made for both of us almost 25 years ago.
It is ironic that you watch a TV show on missing family members, because my mom and I watch those same kinds of shows here in the United States. My mom especially, has always wanted to meet you and thank you for giving her another daughter. I am so blessed to have two mothers.
Although it may be strange and I haven’t been with you since I was born, I have always had feelings of missing you. These feelings of missing you have only been stronger after finding you and seeing your picture. I have your picture hanging in my home and I look at it every day. When I look at your face, I see someone very familiar and close to me. Even though we have been apart for so long, I love you and miss you very much.
Please share my love with my sisters. I love their letters and hope to hear from them soon. Take care of yourself and know that you are close to my heart. I love you and look forward to your next letter.