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To Busan we go

June 17, 2011


Today we traveled about as far as one can travel and stay within the borders of Korea. Our destination was Busan, on the southeast side of the peninsula, about six hours by bus. On the way, the highlight of the day was our stop at Sharon’s Home in Daejeon.

Sharon’s Home allows single women to receive counseling and support during their pregnancy because Korean society is still very conservative and having a baby out of wedlock is considered extremely shameful. We met four young women staying there and two older women who are birth mothers.

One young woman had recently given birth and placed her baby for adoption. She is 17. Another is due in August and is going to keep her baby because her boyfriend will support her and they will eventually get married. They are also receiving support from his parents. Another girl is due in a few weeks, planning to give her child up for adoption. She is in her thirties. The last young woman is due on Sunday and plans to give her child up. The first birth mother found her daughter 11 years ago is is on contact with her. The other had twins, but had to place one for adoption. She recently found the adopted twin, and is exchanging photos on Facebook. She desperately wants to meet her, but hasn’t yet.

It was an emotional morning. We had to talk through an interpreter because they didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Korean. That made the back and forth really slow, but it was a useful experience. It was helpful to see how sad these girls were, how painful it was for them. It made me mad at Korean society that they are under so much pressure to have abortions or give uo their babies, but it also reminded me that my birth mother probably did love me during the time I was growing inside her. It takes an incredible amount of courage not to have an abortion in Korean society. One woman hasn’t told any of her family. Another has only told her mom, but her dad still doesn’t know. Another told her dad and he was furious, but has since started supporting her a bit. I really respect those young women for loving their children enough to be at Sharon’s Home and consider what’s best for them.

Seeing the older women was almost more intense, especially the one who hasn’t yet met her daughter. She had such sad eyes. She just seemed so utterly devastated. Meeting them allowed me to have more compassion for my birth mother. I am sometimes still mad at my birth arents because they we married and already had children, so my situation was different than the women we met today. But I can see that they never stopped thinking about the children they gave away, and reuniting brings them such joy and peace.

A few humorous things happened among the tears. The young woman due to deliver this weekend was loooking throught the family pictures of me and she commented that she thought I look like my mom! No one has ever said that before, and I thought it was sweet of her to say. Funnily enough, as I was looking at one of the other adoptees’ pictures, I had the same thought about her and her mom.

One birth mother advised that we all learn Korean in case we get a chance to meet our birth families, so we are abke to communicate directly. She made a good point, though I have serious doubts about my foreign language ability.

After our talk time, we were served a beautiful Korean lunch. Then we got back on the bus to finish the ride to Busan. Here, we are staying in the Sea Cloud hotel, a stunning facity overlooking the beach. Tonight was the first night that I have been able to do anything after dinner due to fatigue. Five of us went on a stroll ontp the Boardwalk after dinner. It’s nice being on the water. The rest of the country is beautiful and mountainous, but this is where people come to vacafion. So far, the weather is cooler than it was in Seoul. We’ll see if it holds during our sighstseeing, we are here for two nights, then it off to another city.

It is 10:35 as I write this, after my bedtime. I hope tomorrow will be my first day without jetlag. Napping on the bus today helped, but I still feel pooped. I hope to have better pics tomorrow. For obvious privacy reasons, there are none from our experience at this morning’s meeting


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Julia Bates permalink
    June 19, 2011 9:16 am

    Yet another peninsula! What a day you had!!

  2. Jean Sonntag permalink
    June 20, 2011 10:59 pm

    Busan is Anne and Beth’s birthplace. Sounds like an emotional, but in its way, wonderful, day.

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