We are a family- my dad, my mom, and my older sister. We have our differences and our resemblances. We have had our good days, and we have had our not so good days.
We have the love of a family that bound us and always will.
My parents met at a Catholic group for singles. I always kind of get a kick out of that, but it suits them to have met in this kind of rigid and, in my mind, awkward setting. I’m sure it was actually fun and great. I just like to make it weird.
I envision my mom there as a highly sought after, petite women with her piercing blue eyes. My dad I envision was a shy and kind of awkward attendee despite being a kind and handsome catch. My dad mustered the courage to ask my mom on a date to go ball room dancing. He was a great dancer, just like my grandparents who frequented ballroom dances and passed the waltz, tango, and box step skills onto my dad.
My parents never did go on this ballroom dancing date. My mom ended up needing to have surgery on her hands for the rheumatoid arthritis she had been diagnosed with at the age of 17. Now, she faced another surgery. Rheumatoid had been crippling to her, stealing away many of her loved activities and causing pain for everything else she did. But, in her small frame, my mom had strength that myself and most everyone could never imagine or comprehend.
Though they never went ballroom dancing, my parents had their first dance as a married couple. They moved to Michigan, and started their lives together.
Part of what drew my parents together was a strong desire to start a family. They started trying right away, but without any success. As more time passed, it became more and more stressful. They could not help but question-Were they not meant to have children? Why?
My mom worked in an adoption agency as a social worker, and adoption started to really seem like a fit. They teeter tottered on the option of adoption. It seemed when one of them felt ready and certain to adopt, the other one started having doubts. It was difficult too, not having the support of some very close family members.
When it came down to it, my mom did not want to risk ever passing on rheumatoid. To them, the stress of trying so hard did not make sense when there were so many children in the world that needed loving parents. My parents had a calling to be parents- this, they knew. Finally, they filled out the paperwork and opened a case to adopt.
In May, a precious gift made a journey across the world and into my parents loving arms. Her born name was Hey-Mi. She was a twin sister of a brother. I believe she was given up for financial reasons, for she was born in a more poverty stricken region of South Korea. The brother remained with their biological family, while she was meant to be the child of my parents.
My parents fell instantly in love. They became parents as they held and embraced their baby girl, who with her arrival brought all of her love and joy. They named her Megan May. Megan May crumbled the walls of uncertainty for them and everyone in the family who held anxieties about adoption.
My dad, who grew up an only child, wanted Megan to have a sibling. They soon after filed paperwork and completed another year long home study and adoption process. Another picture with files came.
The picture was of another baby girl named Moonyung. I, Moonyung, was given up by a loving mother and father who could not raise another daughter.
On February 21st, my parents welcomed me into their arms. They named me Erin Yung.
I proceeded to torture my mom and dad because I was a miserable baby. I ran my parents ragged, especially my mom, who had a mother’s intuition something was not right with me despite doctors telling her I was just fussy. Finally, she found a doctor, who listened to her tired, tear-filled eyes. They found I was lactose intolerant and needed a special formula. My mom reminds me from time to time, it was the Cadillac (most expensive) of formulas, but as soon as they found out what I needed, they got it for me, and everything turned around.
That sums up my life- what my sister and I needed, my parents provided. My parents filled our lives with their support and love.
No family is perfect though. Megan, a huge tomboy was known to be tough. Most of the time, we could be found playing in the backyard playing a game called “Magnificent Catch”, where I would throw the ball, it would be way off target, and my sister and I would celebrate if she actually caught it.
Very truthfully, my mom and I clashed up until just recently. Our personalities are the type that clash. She is organized and a bit anxious. I am, well, not great for a person like my mom- messy, a bit everywhere and aloof. My dad and I were like two peas in a pod- he’s not messy though. I don’t know where I get that from. I was a daddy’s girl through and through.
Words cannot express my gratitude and love I have for my two families. My heart is so full.
I found my family in Korea in 2014. I had been married with my husband for three years, and we found ourselves thinking about starting a family.
Before we did that, I had a desire to just try to find them. When I opened my search, I had no bigger fan than my mom.
I wrote a letter, filled out some paperwork, and sent over some pictures. My mom had sent many pictures throughout the years to the agency I was adopted through. When I opened the search, the agency held all that we had sent, but sent a notice to the government. The government then sent a telegram to my Korean father. I was told the return of the search could take up to three months or never due to the process and the the recipient needing to decide what to do with the news. When my father got the telegram, he had to reveal a secret that had died with my mother. He and my mother’s sister alone knew of my existence. He told everyone, and my four sisters went running to the agency to see if they could meet me. I received letters and pictures back within a month.
I have been back yearly. I will have to wait until 2020 to travel and see them again. We have an app, much like Facebook, but just for our family. I talk to them through that and another app like Skype. I speak broken Korean, and they speak broken English enough that we can talk. There has been many conversations ending in confusion and laughter. There also have been many conversations ending in tears.
My regrets in life involve my mothers.
I wish I had been kinder to my mom who I grew up with. I wish I had been easier on her heart.
I also wish I would have opened my search a couple years earlier, so I could have hugged my mother, and told her she did right by me. I wish I could have washed away the guilt and heartache she carried because of me.
I love my families. I love them BOTH with all of my heart.
I used to not want to talk about being adopted. I used to not want anything to do with anything that would set me a part. I felt people were misguided if they thought me being adopted made me special. Now, I realize, I am special. The love of the two families have filled my life with such a special and beautiful story. I am special, not because of anything I have done, but because of the selfless acts and huge walks of faith my mom and my dad, and my mother and my father chose to do. I know I caused both sets of my parents tears because of their love for me. I owe them everything.
Parents, caretakers, you are truly heroes. Any story of a parent who lets the love of their child or children fill their hearts walk a special story- a story of unconditional love full of uncertainty, sacrifice, selflessness, and patience. I hope you feel that in my story, and I would love to hear any of yours! Thanks for reading.