Ae Ran Won

A Korean adoptee reacts to the birth mother letters


I am a Korean Adoptee. I was adopted when I was 11 months old. I wanted to write and thank you and share my thoughts after I read the book, "I Wish You a Beautiful LIfe".

This book has radically changed my view of my adoption, and of adoption in general.

But first, I'll give you a bit of my background and struggles I had as an adoptee. I grew up in a very small town with hardly any other Asian or minority children. But I do have a sister who is also adopted from Korea. I always struggled with wanting to fit in, and be just like everyone else. I always struggled with accepting and believing that people loved me, because in the back of my mind I thought, "well my birth parents didn't want me, I must be unlovable." I had a very bad view of birth parents, especially mine. I always thought they were just lazy, angry, selfish parents who didn't want their babies. I thought I must have been a terrible baby for my mother to give me up. I struggled with feelings of abandonment, loss, grief, and anger growing up. I never saw my birth mother as being loving by giving me up.

Years ago my mom recommended reading this book, but I was so filled with anger I didn't want anything to do with my Korean heritage and more importantly I didn't want to read a book by Korean birth mothers to their babies. I wanted to forget I was ever adopted. But a couple months ago a friend suggested I read this book, they had adopted a little boy and had similar views of birth mothers and had expressed how it changed her view. So I decided to give it a try, I was a little skeptical when I started reading it, I wasn't sure what to expect or what I would learn.

I was surprised how quickly I became so overwhelmed with such a sadness and felt such a personal loss. (I thought for a moment, why should I be getting this upset reading letters to children, these letters aren't written to I foolish? Or being a little dramatic or too emotional?) I had many different emotions and feelings while reading this book.

I cried through most of it, but I thought the interesting part was as I kept reading the more and more encouraged and free I felt. I was encouraged to remember the gospel and rest in God's plan and sovereignty over everything.

I couldn't help but to reflect on my own story and how God was and is in control over all aspects of it, and that He works all things for good for those who love Him...even the most horrible or tragic situations...He can use even those for good. I couldn't help but be in awe of His greatness. It blows my mind that He can and does orchestrate all the details of our lives, and we really just need to trust and believe in Him. It's pretty crazy how much He loves us and how quick we are to forget Him, and rely on ourselves.

And as for the free feeling, I was most shocked by this. I couldn't put my finger on it but as I kept reading I felt this overwhelming sense of being set free. But I ask myself, what was I being set free from? Was this free from my own guilt, loss of rejection and questions of why? Or was it just that instead of solely focusing on my feelings of being adopted, I was able to see/read another perspective of adoption.

Maybe it's because it was letters from the mothers' perspective and realizing how painful it was for them and how they all seemed to truly love their babies and how they themselves felt guilty, sinful and ashamed for giving their babies up.

The thing I really liked was the love that was portrayed for their babies, they all had an overwhelming sense of love and care for them. One letter stated, "I committed such an unforgivable sin against you. There is nothing I could possibly say by way of an excuse, but I would like to write to you a little. If you can just understand me for having had to send you away. You are such an adorable baby to me, and I feel like my heart is tearing apart."

I was pretty shocked by how much guilt and shame they felt about giving up their babies. I never realized how painful it was for them, I think for a long time I convinced myself that at least my mother had given me up because I was somehow too difficult to love or that I was naughty as a baby.

I see now how believing lies like this have really altered my view on relationships with other people, and ultimately my relationship with God in the past (and still somewhat today). I'm thankful that God has started to show me over the past couple years how thinking things like that are basically unbelief in who He is and how in fact it's very sinful. I'm thankful that even though we don't understand what He's doing, or why He allows certain things...we can still rest in knowing that He's in control.

I now have a completely different view of birth mothers, and my adoption. I have such a love and respect for them that they would give up their babies that they loved so much. For the hopes that their babies would have a better life than what they could have provided. I now for the first time in my life see my own adoption as a blessing and a gift from God, rather than a punishment.

I am so thankful I read this book, it has had such an impact on my life. I hope one day that maybe my story can be used to help other adoptees or birth parents.

Please let me know if there are ways to support or volunteer in your organization.

Thank you for making such a wonderful book, it was a real blessing to me.

- A Korean adoptee, September 2010