My wife Susan, and 7-year-old daughter Amanda went to Korea in the year 2000 to pick up our daughter and Amanda’s new baby sister—Marisa. In the Summer of 2019, Marisa and I returned. We have changed some, Korea has changed some, but the bright smile on the face of Mrs. Kim, her foster mother, was the same.
In that reunion, Mrs. Kim brought her own daughter, who is about the same age as our Amanda. It was interesting hearing things from her perspective. While meeting, we all noticed that the chair behind us was the same one that was photographed 19 years ago with Mrs. Kim holding Marisa as an infant. Mrs. Kim insisted we take an updated photo of a fully grown Marisa sitting on her lap in the same chair! We all laughed so much. It was a wonderful and memorable reunion.
I usually make all the arrangements for our family trips, but Tour Korea meant handing the responsibility of the planning over to others—and that is what they do completely! Everything I could think of was already handled by the tour folks. I had to learn to let go in the same way that I had to let Marisa process so much of this experience herself.
I believe strongly that adoptees are entitled to their own responses to their unique experience—whether they want to know as much as possible, or as little as needed. As part of this tour group, I learned different things touch different people profoundly. We learned so much and were exposed to such a variety of things.
One of the most meaningful stops for me was up a winding road up to visit a monument park dedicated to mothers who had placed children for adoption. It is the only place quite like it in all of South Korea. It reinforced in me the power of remembrance. I thought of these birth mothers and foster mothers often during our trip. In 2000, Mrs. Kim mentioned to us that all she cared about was to know that Marisa was doing well. In 2019, she was all smiles when she saw what a wonderful young woman that baby on her lap had become.
-AnthonyLearn About Tour Korea 2021