Letter from a Korean Birth Mother

mother From the book I Wish for You a Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children, edited by Sara Dorow, introduction by Mrs. Han, Sang-soon. For information on how to order I Wish for You a Beautiful Life, contact Yeong & Yeong Book Company.

"I will always live with you in my heart."

When I call your name I feel pain in my heart because you are so young and your adoptive parents may be the only people in your life right now. Even though I gave you life and gave you your name, I could not keep you because of hard circumstances beyond my control. I chose adoption for you despite the anguish that I feel and despite the fact that you may not understand why I did so.

I am very sorry. I can't help crying when I think of you and remember what you look like. I could have given you all the love you needed from the moment I gave you birth as your mother, but because of the circumstances I was in, we could only spend a short time together. Our relationship as mother and child, though I wanted it to continue, ended so quickly because I had no other choice.

When I first looked into your face I tried to see what features we had in common. Knowing that it would be our last time together, my heart ached because, as your mother, I could not do anything for you.

When I looked into your face I knew that I would never forget you until the day of my death. Placing you in the care of your adoptive parents was the most difficult thing for me, but when I think that they will provide you with happiness and that you will provide them with happiness as well, then I feel relieved.


Dear baby, I hope you will be loved by your family and grow up to be a healthy, strong, and great person. Later on, when you find out that you are an adopted child (even though in my heart I hope that you will not know, because I don't want people to treat you differently), you may search for me.

Until that possible future meeting, I hope that I will live my life with confidence, trying to do my best in all that I do. I will also try my best to help you understand why my heart aches when I think of the fact that you were given up for adoption, even though you were not at fault in any way. But I should stop thinking in this way, because you were not given up but merely taken care of by different parents. I will consider you a gift to them and they will help you grow up as a fine person.

Your mother loves you very much and has not given you up forever. I have chosen this way because I believe it is best for you. I will always pray for you and live with you in my heart. I hope that you will grow up healthy.

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