"A Last-Minute Birth Mother Reunion"

My daughter was nervous about reuniting with her birth mother when we traveled to her birth country of South Korea.

Anna's family helped her though her birth mother reunion

My family felt that it would be good to travel to South Korea to have some of my 10-year-old daughter Anna’s questions answered. Despite everyone’s efforts, it is not easy to grow up as a Korean-American in a Caucasian home.

We felt that knowing more about Korea and about Anna’s first few months might help her as she moved into adolescence. I was glad to know that social worker Deborah Johnson, also a Korean adoptee, would be on the trip.

We planned to meet Anna’s foster mother, but were told that we wouldn’t be able to meet Anna’s birth mother. Understandably, Anna was somewhat relieved. She could meet with her foster mom and find some answers, without experiencing the emotional roller coaster implicit in a birth mother reunion.

While in Seoul, near the end of our tour, we were told that Anna’s birth mother had changed her mind and now she wanted to meet her. Deborah made it clear to Anna that she was under no obligation to meet her birth mother, which relieved some of Anna’s stress. They brainstormed about ways to make the reunion work.

Anna asked if there was any way for her to just see her birth mother — perhaps wait outside the room and observe us as we met her. Deborah suggested that Anna, accompanied by her family, meet her birth mother with the option of leaving should it become too much. Once Anna saw that she could be in charge, she realized that she should not discard this opportunity of a lifetime simply because she was nervous.

When Anna embraced her birth mother for the last time at the airport, she noticed her lovely perfume. And on the flight back to Seoul that afternoon, Anna recognized that the flight attendant was wearing the same scent!

I used my phrase book to ask the flight attendant the name of the perfume. Anna purchased a small bottle of the scent, so she could relive the moments with her birth mother after we got home.


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