Updates

August 11, 2020

Spotlight on one of our volunteers: Austin Johnson

Selflessness. Compassion. Kindness. Generosity. These qualities are the essence of his being.   From the time he met our friends at our Lunar Celebration, he has steadfastly continued to engage with and encourage aged-out young adults. As simple as it may sound, just being available for them and spending time with them demonstrates his desire to serve God. His positive impact on these young adults is immeasurable. Thank you SO MUCH, Austin, for sharing God’s love with these young adults!  (And thank you, too, Janetta!)

“I was adopted when I was 6-months old to a family in the United States. 26 years later I returned to South Korea. My time in Korea has been full of answered prayers. I have gotten to experience almost everything Korea has to offer. I have worked many jobs including being a cook, bartender, grocery clerk, office worker, and English teacher. Janetta and I have always had the heart for working with kids and young adults in Korea, but due to our lack of being able to speak Korean, it scared us away from volunteering. We have participated in the Oak Tree Run Project charity runs, but that was the extent of our volunteering. We wanted to do more, so we prayed about it. It wasn’t until Barbara Kim came to Seoul Union Church that we started volunteering. We met with Barbara and she told us about Love Beyond the Orphanage. It just so happened to be close to the Lunar New Year. This is kinda a big deal here in Asia. It’s a time where families get together and eat lots of food. Barbara mentioned that Love Beyond the Orphanage was throwing a Lunar New Year event for aged-out orphans. This was something that touched both mine and Janetta’s heart. This was it, finally something we could help out with. This wasn’t forced, this wasn’t something we schemed for. This was something only God could do. It was in God’s perfect timing.

The Lunar New Year event was simply amazing. What a wonderful time seeing everyone laughing and having a good time. With over 30 people attending, we ate some delicious food and played games together. This was also my first time to experience a Korean Lunar New Year with traditional games and some traditional food. We made some great new relationships there. The time went by so fast. What an honor to meet these incredible people. I can’t wait until the next event.

We were able to follow up after the event and meet up with some of them for food and games. Even though we couldn’t speak    Korean well, we were able to still have a good time together. Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus, we had to postpone some of the meetups and group gatherings. Recently, Korea is lifting the ban on social distancing, so we are both glad to be able to meet in person again.

Fast forward to now. As I am writing this for Love Beyond the Orphanage, I began thinking about something in my childhood. Even though I was adopted, I still lacked something. I lacked someone that could empathize with me. For example, someone who could relate to me when I was teased for being Asian. I grew up with lots of pains just like so many other adoptees. I want to use the struggles that God allowed for me to endure to help others. Instead of being consumed by bitterness or things that I think I deserve, I want to use these scars to show the next generation I made it, and they can too.”

“who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

                                                                                                               2 Corinthians 1:4

July 14, 2020

Barbara Kim addresses South Korea’s National Assembly

Barbara Kim, one of the Board of Directors, had an opportunity to speak at South Korea’s National Assembly yesterday on behalf of  adoption and the plight of aged out orphans. She spoke to a room filled with lawmakers, government workers, adoption and social service agencies, and the press. The focus was on changing the current adoption law that was passed in 2012. Here is her speech:

“I was born here, in Korea, the oldest of 4 siblings.  My family experienced hardship when I was 8 years old and I was abandoned at the old Seoul Train Station. I was sent to the Holt Ilsan orphanage where I lived for 2 years until I was adopted by a family in the United States…I was the lucky one.

My youngest sister was sent to a different orphanage.  My second sister was sent to relatives and my brother stayed with our father.

Adoption gave me love and opportunity:

  • The love and support of a family; the opportunity to attend university and graduate school where I earned 3 degrees. 
  • The love of a husband; the opportunity to pursue careers of my choice as a Social Worker for domestic and international adoption, and as a nurse for over 35 years.
  • The love of my own children and family; the opportunity for financial security, the pursuit of life’s joys, and infinite choices I never would have had if I was not given a family of my own…through adoption.

Orphanages, institutions, are not substitutes for families, biologic or adoptive.

My biological sister was raised without a family, in a Korean orphanage for over 17 years.  Deprived of the things afforded me because of adoption:

  • Deprived of the love of parents when young; deprived of the opportunity to finish high school.
  • Deprived of the love and security of a family and her siblings; deprived of the opportunity to even attend university.  Deprived of confidence and security.  Deprived of a basic right of all the world’s children – to have a family of their own.

Instead, she was given lifelong shame from the stigma of growing up in an orphanage, a burden she, and countless others, still carry throughout their lives.  Keeping her past secret, and even today the only close friends she has, are those she grew up with in the orphanage.

No child deserves to be put to the side, hidden, and grow up in an institution.  No child deserves less love or less opportunity than another.  No child or teenager or adult deserves to feel shame, or have opportunities forbidden to them.

Would you want that for yourself? Would you want that for your own children?

They have no voice.  We must be their voice and advocate for the weakest, the abandoned, the marginalized, the most vulnerable among us.

We all have the God given right to a family of our own.  Every child deserves to be loved, wanted, adored, to feel safe, and to have the chance to reach their desire of happiness and success.

It is simply wrong to deprive a child of a family of their own through adoption.  It is wrong to deprive them of their future and potential.

We must make sure every child has a family and home of their own.  Adoption is a blessing.   Every child without a family adds to our shame.  We owe it to every child to have a family of their own.  To experience and grow with love and see the world as a place of wonder and opportunity.”

July 13, 2020

Meet one of our volunteers: David Ko

“I call him an angel because he is truly an angel to aged-out orphans.  If you read David Ko’s story, you will immediately sense that his passion and desire to help aged-out orphans is deeply rooted in his faith to God.  His witness to many of their struggles inspired him to start a company that assists in learning and employment opportunities.  In addition, he is always available for us for English translations, giving us a ride, and sharing in our passion. The board of directors expresses its deep appreciation to him, and we look forward to continuing our friendship as we work to serve aged-out adults. David, you are truly a blessing to thousands of orphans in Korea! May God continue to grant His blessing on Stand On Your Feet (SOFY) and your ministry.” ~Julie Duvall, CEO 

“In 2016, I met Julie and Kimberly, co-founders of Love Beyond the Orphanage through my dear friend Pastor Kim. While Pastor Kim was volunteering as a translator for Holt Korea, he met Julie and Kimberly.  His realization of their interests in the aged-out orphans prompted Pastor Kim to introduce them to me since I was actively involved in volunteering at the orphanage.

Through this opportunity, Pastor Kim and I started helping with the translation of the adoptees’ stories for the Love Beyond the Orphanage’s website. We read Julie, Kimberly and other board members’ stories, and despite of our poor English, Pastor Kim and I worked together to translate them in Korean. Honestly, after reading the adoptees stories especially Julie and Kimberly’s, I could not help but to shed tears. Through their stories, we had better understanding of adoptees and their desire to want to help aged-out orphans.

SOYF (Stand On Your Feet), a design and a social enterprise company was established to support young aged-out orphans for independent living.  We produce designed products such as t-shirts, tote bags, and fabric goods, and also offer design services for poster, brochure, and leaflet. The profit we obtain from these various services and products, we are able to offer the design vocational training to young orphan students and support the independent living through the monthly hurdling community meeting for those who have aged out from the orphanages.

I have been volunteering at the Dream Tree Orphanage since 2014.  I took students out on a photographic field trip. We spent time going around Seoul to take pictures, and shared tasty food.  At first, this satisfied me. I thought through many good experiences like these, I provided good memories for them which then I thought this will help them when they leave the orphanage. But during three years of working with them, I found out what these kids were experiencing their horrible reality! I learned that these young adults are facing discrimination at schools and workplaces, making wrong choice due to their hard-living condition, committing crimes, and even suicide!  Witnessing these, I couldn’t help but cry while praying for them. I began to ask “Father, what should I do? What can I do for these vulnerable kids?”. After a lengthy prayer, I got an answer to my prayers. I persuaded two other volunteers to join me and in 2017, we started the SOYF Studio social enterprise company.

SOYF means ‘Stand On Your Feet’.  When deciding the company name, the phrase ‘On Your Feet’ kept popping into my mind, so we chose the name that had the meaning of independence and self-reliance.  A few months later, I found this verse in the bible. “And called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.” Acts 14:10

When Paul and Barnabas were preaching in Lystra, they met a man who sat crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked and then made him stand up.  There were one more reference in the bible.

“Now get up and stand on your feet.  I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.  I will rescue their eyes and run them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26: 16-18

This is Paul who’s defending himself in front of the King Agrippa and telling him that he was on his way to persecute Jesus followers, but on his way to Damascus, he met Jesus for the first time, and this is what Jesus spoke to Paul.

Through this message, I realized that Jesus came to me and helped me when I was lost, and HE was telling me to help those who suffer wounded heart, struggling to stand on their own, and those who has fallen.

Because we started the company SOYF with nothing, maintaining the company is very much challenging and struggling to this day.  However, I have been experiencing God’s provision whenever we face difficult situations and give us strength and wisdom to solve the problems each day.  We are able to continue our work because of the brothers and sisters we stay connected through Love Beyond the Orphanage.

And, for most of all, Heavenly Father values each person’s life. To delight in Him, I want to do my best as a son, as a servant, to bring one more soul to Jesus Christ.””

2016년, 나의 진실된 친구 김인태 목사를 통해 Love Beyond the Orphanage의 공동 설립자 줄리와 킴벌리를 만나게 되었다.  김인태 목사는 홀트에서 자원봉사를 하고 있었는데 그곳에서 줄리와 킴벌리를 알게 되었고, 이분들께서 한국의 보육시설 청소년들에 대해 관심이 있다고 하시니 마침 서울의 한 보육시설에서 봉사활동을 하고 있던 나를 소개하게 된 것이다.

이것이 계기가 되어 Love Beyond the Orphanage 웝사이트에 게재된 입양인들의 이야기를 김인태 목사와 함께 번역하는 일을 돕게 되었다.  줄리, 킴벌리를 비롯해 이사진들의 이야기 읽기를 발복하고 수차례 논의를 거쳐 부족한 영어실력으로 한 줄 한 줄 번역을 하게 되었다.  솔직히, 입양인들의 이야기, 특히 줄리와 킴벌리의 이야기를 읽으며 목놓아 울었다. 그리고 그것을 통해 입양인들에 대해 조금이나마 이해할 수 있었고, 이분들께서 왜 한국의 보육시설 청소년들을 돕기 원하는지 알 수 있었다.

SOYF (Stand On Your Feet)

소이프는 보육시설 청소년들의 자립을 돕기 위해 설립된 (예비)사회적기업이자, 디자인 회사이다.  폐션 소품류의 디자인 제품들을 제작하여 판매하고, 포스터, 브로셔, 리풀릿 등 디자인 서비스를 통해 얻는 수익으로 보육시설 청소년들에게 디자인 직업교육을 하고 이미 시설을 퇴소한 보호종료아동들과는 매월 허들링 커뮤니티라는 모임을 갖고 자립을 지원한다.

2014년부터 서울의 한 보육시설에서 봉사활동을 했었다.  아이들과 한달에 한번씩 사진 출사를 나가 서울 곳곳을 돌아다니며 사진도 찍고 맛있는 것을 먹으며 시간을 보냈다.  처음엔 내가 잘하고 있는 것이라 생각했다.  즐거운 시간을 보내고 좋은 추억이 쌓이면 아이들이 자립을 할 때 도움이 될 것이라 생각했기 때문이다.  그러나 3년 동안  여러가지 일들을 겪으며 이 아이들의 참혹한 현실을 알게 되었다.  학교, 직장에서의 차별, 생활고로 인한 잘못된 선택, 범죄와 자살까지 목격하게 된 것이다.  이러한 일들을 겪으며, 아이들을 위해 기도할 때면 눈물이 멈추지 않았다.  그리고 그것은 나에게 ‘아버지, 도대체 제가 무엇을 해야 할까요?  이 아이들을 위해 무엇을 할 수 있을까요?’ 라는 질문이 되었다.  오랜 기도 끝에 나의 마음에 답을 주신대로 함께 봉사활동을 하던 선생님 2명을 설득하여 2017년 소이프 스튜디오라는 회사를 시작하게 되었다.

소이프는 Stand On Your Feet (너의 발로, 스스로 딛고 일어서라.) 라는 뜻이다.  처음 회사명을 지을 때 계속 On Your Feet이라는 말이 머릿속에 떠돌아, 아이들의 자립의 의미를 담은 이름을 짓게 되었다.  그로부터 몇 달 뒤, 이것을 성경말씀에서 찾게 되었다.

“큰소리로 이르되 네 발로 바로 일어서라 하니 그 사람이 걷는지라”    사도행전 14장 10절

바울이 바나바와 루스드라라는 지역에서 복음을 전하고 있을 때 태어나면서부터 걷지 못하는 사람을 만나 일으켜 세우는 장면이다.  그런데 그 이후에 성경에서 한 번 더 언급이 된다.

“일어나 너의 발로 서라 내가 네게 나타난 것은 곧 네가 나를 본 일과 장차 내가 네게 나타날 일에 너로 종과 증인을 삼으려 함이니 이스라엘과 이방인들에게서 내가 너를 구원하여 그들에게 보내어 그 눈을 뜨게 하여 어둠에서 빛으로, 사탄의 권세에서 하나님께로 돌아오게 하고 죄 사함과 나를 믿어 거룩하게 된 무리 가운데서 기업을 얻게 하리라 하더이다.” 사도행전 26장 16-18절

이는 바울이 아그립바 왕앞에서 자신을 변호하며, 예전에 예수님의 제작들을 핍박하기위해 다마스커스로 가는 길에 예수님을 처음 만났을 때 예수님께서 바울에게 하신 말씀이었다.

이 말씀을 통해, 나에게도 예수님께서 먼저 찾아오셔서 방황하며 쓰러져 있던 나를 일으켜 세워 주셨고, 나에게 마음에 상처가 있는자, 혼자 일어서기 힘든 자, 쓰러져 있는 자를 일으켜 세우는 일을 하라는 것을 깨달았다.

아무것도 가진 것 없이 시작했기 때문에, 아직도 소이프라는 회사가 유지되는 것조차 힘들고 매일 매일 고군분투를 하고 있다.  그러나 다행인 것은 이 일을 하는 동안 어려움이 닥칠 때마다 하나님이 돕고 계심을 경험하며, 하루하루를 이길 수 있는 힘과 지혜를 주시고 Love Beyond the Orphanage 와 같이 좋은 형제자매를 보내주시기 때문에 이 일을 하고 있다.  그리고 무엇보다 아버지께서 한사람의 생명을 소중이 여기시기 때문에 그분의 기쁨을 위하여 아들이자, 청지기로서 역할을 다하고자 한다.  한 명의 영혼이라도 예수님을 만나게 하기 위하여…

June 9, 2020

Myeong Hoon receives his Masters degree

One of LBTO’s scholarship recipients, Myeong Hoon, this Spring was awarded his Masters Degree in Viola. As a result of the global pandemic, he was unable to attend a commencement, celebrate this extraordinary accomplishment, or experience the closure to this chapter of his life. We would like to celebrate his accomplishment with your help. We are asking you to honor him by sending graduation cards and gifts to him C/O LBTO 3327 Hampton Way Eugene, OR 97401. Please take the time to read his interview and listen to a short viola piece.

Here is a letter recently received from him:

“Dear Love Beyond the Orphanage Patrons,

Warm greetings to you all!  

First of all, I sincerely thank all the LBTO supporters.  Without your help, I would not have been able to graduate from Manhattan School of Music.  I was offered a full scholarship, but the additional living expenses would have been too overwhelming for me to pursue my study.  Because of your generosity, I am now one step closer to my dream.  I am truly grateful to LBTO also for reaching out to me weekly with phone calls, checking to see if I had any other needs.  Your caring heart truly made me feel that I belonged to a family, namely, LBTO.  Thus, I didn’t have to struggle with loneliness.  While studying at MSM, I never had to worry about food or transportation fees either because of your support.  I thank you all for making possible for me to focus just on music.  As you made possible for me to study music in America, I would like to help others in needs to achieve their dreams as well.  My next goal is to audition and become a member in an orchestra.  Right now, it is tough to find a job, but meanwhile, I will be taking any performing opportunities and also will be giving private lessons to financially support myself.  Once again, I truly appreciate all your support.  I am also greatly thankful to God for His guidance for me to be where I am now.  Thank You!

Sincerely,

Myeon Hoon”

June 9, 2020

Our animated logo explained:

We would like to share the meaning behind our new logo. Look carefully and you will see a heart transforming into a butterfly. It symbolizes that love and support surrounding aged-out orphans can help set them free.  After living a cloistered life in an orphanage until age 18, these young and vulnerable souls then face the reality of a mandatory discharge into society which imposes a negative stigma on orphans. The vast majority of these aged-out orphans are unprepared to transition into independent living.  They face the immediate, harsh realities of loneliness, isolation, and a feeling of shame of being labeled an “orphan.”  They are prey to the many predators seeking to abuse them physically, sexually and financially.  Love Beyond the Orphanage is committed to helping these vulnerable youths attain hope, and a viable existence by building relationships and providing emotional and financial support.  We provide college scholarships, host holiday events, and connect them with mentors.  Our aim is to empower them to feel confident and reach for their dreams.  At a fundamental level, these young people seek love and a sense of belonging.  If you would like to help these young souls blossom and emerge into society as represented by the butterfly, we ask for your financial support.  They need your help.  Thank you!

we are excited to share our new website!

May 30th, 2020

The Board of Directors is pleased to unveil our organization’s updated online presence. Our new website is streamlined to make it easy to find the pages you need. Our logo has also been upgraded for a more contemporary feel.  This new look has us excited for the future as we continue providing for aged out orphans in need. Please take a look and share with your friends.