Sometimes parents don’t have enough money to care for their child. Sometimes parents are ill and are unable to raise their child the way they see fit. So they choose to place their beloved child in someone else’s hands, in someone else’s household, for one simple reason: love. They love their child and hope to give the child a better life, maybe better than their own. That is what my birth parents did for me.
I was born in Jangjheung, South Korea, on July 20, 1994, with a cleft lip and pallet which required several surgeries to be properly fixed.
I don’t really know the reason my birth parents put me up for adoption, but I couldn’t be more thankful or more blessed by their decision. If it weren’t for their decision, I wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t have met my parents, the Drapers.
Somewhere in Longview, a couple by the name of Jim and Toni Draper, chose to adopt. That decision soon changed my life in every way possible. They had already adopted a Korean girl from Seoul, South Korea, and God had placed another desire in their heart to adopt. That is where I came in.
After searching for a child, through an adoption agency, they found me and after praying and discussing the situation, they chose me. The long process of adoption then began.
During the process, WFAA, a TV station for the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex, was running a special for International Adoption on Mother’s Day weekend. The WFAA helped move up the adoption process for the Drapers, and sent a camera crew to document the whole process.
Soon my mom, with a friend and the camera crew, boarded a plane to South Korea. She came back with me, to be greeted at the airport by my dad, two brothers and sister.
I landed in America on March 30, 1996. I was 20 months old, but my life had just begun. I was so blessed to be in a family where love was so evident. I grew up thanking God for such a family.
I was too young to remember any of South Korea, my birth parents, my previous surgeries in Korea or the language. I’ve been asked many times if I would like to go back to South Korea and the answer is yes. I’d love to study the culture, and learn the language, if possible.
Although I owe my birth parents everything and I want them to know how grateful I am, when asked if I want to try to contact them, I always answer no.
My life was better because of their hard decision. Many parents have to make that decision without knowing the outcome. Somehow I hope my birth parents realize I am happy because of their choice.
Joy Draper is a freshman journalism major from Longview.