Tami’s Story

In early spring of 1959, I was dropped off at Seoul City Hall. There I was picked up with 2 other infants and brought to the orphanage. I was around 8 months old so I was given a birthdate in 1958. I was chubby and looked well cared for so I have told myself that my birth family cared for me as long as they could. I was subsequently adopted to a family in Oregon. They had 2 biological daughters and after I was placed, they adopted a little boy as well.

I had, what I considered, a typical childhood. I grew up in small towns in Oregon and Washington. Attended public school, was teased, worked at finding my passions and my place. I attended college, graduated and had several careers. The best, and hardest, has been my career as a parent. Growing up there were times where I wished I wasn’t adopted, times that I hated being “different” from everyone around me. I cried when I was teased about not being able to see out of my eyes, teased about having a “flat face”, no nose and more. My parents tried to help me work through these issues as best they could. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I have really worked through what being of Korean ethnicity means to me.

As I grew older, I began looking more into adoption and what part that played in my life. I feel fortunate to have been placed in a family. It wasn’t a perfect family by any stretch of the imagination. However, I had security, love, parenting, and a safety net to catch me when I needed one. I was able to travel to South Korea many times and each time I have learned more about my ethnic heritage and wondered about those not adopted…those left in orphanages.

When the opportunity arose to be a part of Love Beyond the Orphanage it touched my heart that here was something I could be a part of and help those who grew up in orphanages, those who had no safety net to catch them.