The original article, “아들에게 보내는 편지”, was presented at the Second IKAA in Aug 04 2010 and translated by Shin Ok-soon, and proofread by Janine Grosso, KUMSN volunteers. If you have any question, please contact Seung-hee Han of the Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network.
Hello everyone. I am Choi, Houngsuk from the Unwed Mothers' Family Association of Korea. I am an unwed mother of a six year old son.
It was after I broke up with my long loved boyfriend that I realized that I was pregnant. There had been a lot of oppositions to giving birth to the baby but after a lot of deep thought, I made the decision to have this baby.
I was not young when I was pregnant and I understood very well of how difficult it would be for me to live in Korea as an unwed mother, not to mention giving birth to the baby and my family's reaction. Most of my friends and acquaintances treated me as if my decision to have this baby was abnormal. Therefore, I went to live in an unwed mothers' shelter. At the unwed mothers' shelter I was faced with another problem. It really bothered me that living as an unwed mother would be very shocking to my parents and my family who had loved me for over 30 years.
I had consultations with 3 adoption agencies with no decisions made previously. I expressed my opinion but I was told to fill out the documents- the consent form of adoption and the parental right waiver form first and sign them after the delivery.
I filled out the consent form of adoption for one of the agencies. All I can find from my baby diary written at that time was feelings of guilt and apologizing to my baby. My son was born at around 3 o'clock in the early morning on August 12 in 2005, which was earlier than the original due date. I cried all night instead of hearing blessing words, because there was a long way into the darkness for my son and me to go. On the day of delivery, my brother talked me into sending the baby to an adoption agency and I decided to put my baby up for adoption. My parents knew nothing about it since they were living in the countryside. When I had to send my son away the only thing I said to him was, "my baby, you can go now.", I now or never or will say those words to him again for the rest of my life. It was the last time I would send my son away.
I could hardly live without my son since then. I remember seeing the swollen faces of all the mothers who had sent their babies to adoption agencies right after their delivery. I realized that their swollen faces were not from the delivery but from crying all night, missing their loving babies.
I contacted the agency to bring my baby back. They were angry with me and they told me I'm causing a problem in their work, but I insisted. Later, I was told that I would be able to get my baby back after the social worker in the agency returned from the holiday. So I finally met my son again. Five years have passed since then and I've been writing a letter every month to my son in the hope that I could make up for what I had done to him.
I'm now living in great joy and happiness with my son. I am so grateful that I can be with him and do something for him although I am not rich. How was I able to live in the past after I sent my son away for adoption? I must have been living in great sorrow and shedding many tears of guilt.
Whoever sees mothers tormented after putting their babies up for adoption, could imagine how painful it could be.
At the moment of being pregnant, every woman becomes a mother. After 10 months of pregnancy, sensing all with mother's eyes, ears and skins in one body, the baby goes through a stressful labour and the mother becomes a mother once again. How can a baby not be precious at all to such a mother? Although I am raising my son by myself, I also think the mothers who decided to have their babies adopted for the sake of the babies' future is great as well. We have a saying that we bury our children in the heart. It's because mothers should remain tormented by irresistible yearning for their children.
I get more love from my son than I can give him.
I am so grateful to my son for giving me a chance to see the world differently. I'm determined to fight the prejudice of this society even harder so that I can help change the world to be without any more mothers who are tormented by putting their babies up for adoption.
A society which allows difference but no discrimination is our dream country that the Unwed Mothers' Family Association of Korea pursues. I hope our children grow to be precious human resources to this society in which they are recognized as much as they are competent.
Aug. 14. 2005.
Good morning my son?
You being not here, the Sun still shines.
You being not here, I sleep at night and eat meals and breathe...
Nothing has changed except the fact that you are not here with me.
My dear son.
So sorry I am. So sorry that I can't welcome this morning with you and give you a hug.
So sorry that I can't stand by your side and see you grow.
How slow the time goes.
How much have you grown today?
I am now making a plan to be with you.
There will be many things that I won't be able to give you.
The world could be our enemy.
But we can and will get over whatever challenges come, as long as we are together.
I am so sorry and will be sorry for the rest of my life but please remember this one true fact, that you are my son and I love you forever.
I love you my baby..
- excerpted from my baby diary
Thank you very much for listening.