Friday, June 3, 2011

In South Korea, the stigma for unwed mothers is severe and saving face is sometimes the most important thing. For my young birthmother of 14 years old, letting her pride go and giving me to a new family us the best way she could show me how much she loves me.

When I was little, I would write letters to my birthmother and dream of meeting her. I patiently awaited my high school graduation because my parents told me they would take me to Korea as a gift. When it came close to that time and my family began looking into a Korean adoptee travel program, we received a letter about Korean birthmothers. In Korea, reputation is everything and if a married woman is found that she had a child out of wedlock, it is social suicide. Her husband will divorce her and she will loose her family. I cried as my adoptive mother read me this letter and realized wanting to meet my birthmother was selfish. Just as my birthmother showed her love for me by giving me up for adoption and a better life, I wanted to show my love for my birthmother by protecting her the best way I could: turning down my trip to Korea and putting my search for her on hold.

Four years after reading this letter and 22 years of life, I still think of my birthmother everyday. In the last four years, I have learned more about Korean culture and the language. I have learned the name of my birthparents through accessing my adoption records. I have placed a letter in my adoption file for my birthmother to read if she ever chooses to do so. I have done everything possible to achieve the dream of teaching English in Korea by graduating from college and securing a job in Korea starting in mid-June. Even though I will be in Korea and closer to my birthmother than ever, I will never know if I get the chance to tell her how much I love her in person. Instead, I’ve chosen to show her how much I love her by learning about my culture, living my dreams, and praying for her everyday that her life is filled with nothing but happiness. It’s true when they say that sometimes love is letting someone go. To my birthmother - thank you for loving me selflessly enough to give me up to a mother who shows me how selflessly she loves me everyday. Any girl would be lucky to have two amazing mothers like I have.

--Caitlin Saylor

See the first Love Stories entry here! If you would like to submit your story, please send an e-mail to You may attach up to 5 photos, and we welcome creativity! Please try to keep your stories to a 1200 word limit. You will receive an e-mail when your story is selected.

  • what a beautiful, loving & unselfish love letter to your birth mother--your thoughts mirror what she did for you....i KNOW she would be so proud of you!!!

    nanne in indiana by way of alabama

    Posted on June 3, 2011

  • Thank you for featuring my story and raise adoption awareness as well. I know there are thousands in the US who share my experience of the great amount of love involved in adoption.

    And thank you for being the best, more affordable online clothing store out there.. You are definitely one of my favorites and be expecting to ship to South Korea this summer!

    Posted on June 3, 2011

  • Hi Caitlin! Thanks again for sharing your story; we are honored to share it. Thank you for your sweet comment too! Best wishes to you. :)

    Posted on June 3, 2011

  • Oh my goodness this post made me cry. I'm 1/2 korean and have my mother close. I am doing the same as far as trying to learn Korean and learn as much about my mothers culture as I can. I hope to go to Korea and meet my family there, since I haven't seen them since I was 1 1/2. You and a strong and blessed woman. That was a very hard decision for you to make, but it was very selfless. I commend you full heartedly.

    Posted on June 3, 2011

  • What a sweet and touching story. Thank you for sharing!

    Posted on June 3, 2011

  • I almost burst into tears when reading this >.< I know how you feel, my family was broken up and I know how it feel, longing a love from a mother. I really hope you can meet her. Nature go on its course =D

    Posted on June 3, 2011

  • Sweet story. I love how you expressed gratitude to both mothers. Very touching.

    Posted on June 3, 2011

  • Thank you so much for this. My husband and I are in the process of adopting a child from another country and reading something so lovely touches very deep within my heart.

    Posted on June 4, 2011

  • Thank you for this beautiful post! My husband and I adopted our first child almost 2 years ago and it's so wonderful to read about your experience and perspective being adopted. I hope our son always feels the incredible love that both myself and his birthmom have for him!

    Posted on June 4, 2011

  • i loved reading your story, it's very touching. and i think it's awesome that you are going to work in korea, it's such an amazing opportunity and the fact that you have such a strong heritage there makes it even more so. i am actually currently teaching english in korea and have volunteered at a nearby orphanage. it's definitely something to look into as it's an incredibly humbling experience and you can tell the kids really appreciate the time spent.
    where are you going to teach at? i hope you enjoy it as much as i have been!

    Posted on June 7, 2011

  • Hi Chelsea, thank you for your kind words. I have almost been in Korea for one week and am loving my job! I work for Samsung in Gumi. I will also be volunteering at an orphanage on the weekends and am excited to get to know the children.

    I'd love to chat sometime, even though you are probably no where near my city. My name is on the end of my blog so feel free to look me up on facebook, I'm usually the first that pops up. Otherwise my blog about teaching in Korea is and if you leave a comment with your e-mail we can get in touch!

    Posted on June 16, 2011