My Life-Altering Journey in South Korea

Adoptee Megan Green just returned from the 2016 Holt Family Tour to Korea, a trip she had dreamed of for many years. The experience and the personal connections she made while in Korea will always remain close to her heart.

I recently had the pleasure of being part of the 2016 Holt Family Tour of my motherland, South Korea. It was a life-changing experience that I will never forget.

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of seeing my motherland of South Korea, but I never thought I would see this dream come to fruition. It was always a lofty ambition far off in the distance and nothing more. But as I progressed further into adulthood, that once-quiet yearning deep inside of me became such that it could no longer be ignored. So this year I set a goal to finally see my motherland, no matter what the obstacles may be.

You see, my viewpoint of the tour was unique because I was born with cerebral palsy. I have to use crutches for mobility purposes, which made me a bit apprehensive of this trip. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Before this tour I had never traveled outside of my home state of Nebraska, let alone outside of the United States.

There were some very memorable moments of the 2016 Family Tour of South Korea that had a strong impact on me. The trip to the Ilsan Center especially touched my heart on a very personal level. As we met people there, it felt like they were all one huge family. The staff care so much for all of the residents who call the Ilsan Center their home. All of the residents live with various forms of physical and or mental adaptive needs. 

As someone who has firsthand knowledge of the challenges associated with having adaptive needs, I know that it takes a very compassionate and empathetic person to care for someone who has special needs. Caregivers and treatment teams alike do not have it easy — they, too, face bumps in the road.

I was impressed with the fact that the residents have the opportunity to earn their own money. This teaches them valuable life skills and accountability. They may not have had the opportunity to learn these skills if it were not for the Ilsan Center. This place has a family atmosphere where everyone is accepted for who they are, instead of being judged because of their specific diagnosis. They are all family members, loved regardless of their abilities.

One of the most memorable parts for me was a very special connection I had with a very sweet lady. She, too, lives with physical limitations. I held her hand and said hello to her. Despite the language barrier between us, when she realized I was speaking to her, she gifted me with a big smile and a hug that lasted at least five minutes. She will always hold a special place in my heart.

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The orphanage that we visited in SungAeWon hit home for me in a way that I never anticipated. It was wonderful to see the children, especially when their faces filled with joy as members of our tour offered them candy. One little boy touched my crutches and asked me what they were. He then said, “Are you okay?” It was very heartwarming to hear the sincerity in his voice. 

I was also very impressed with the single mothers and their adorable children that reside in the Holt Morning Garden Mother and Child Shelter in Daejeon. As we were eating lunch, each of the mothers described the goals that they were working towards. They also gifted each adoptee with a beautiful handmade picture frame. One young woman in particular even serenaded us with a beautiful song called “You Raise Me Up.” 

I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the Holt staff that accompanied me and the rest of our tour group for the duration of the trip. Everyone was so incredibly helpful and welcoming. It goes without saying that Mr. Paul Kim, Mrs. Lisa Bess and the rest of the Holt staff worked tirelessly to make sure that this trip was absolutely incredible for all of us. Holt Korea did an amazing job researching all of the adoptees files. There had to have been a lot of late nights involved to get everything prepared.

In closing, I believe that it’s important to thank Harry and Bertha Holt for not only daring to dream, but for also having the courage to chase those dreams. What first began as a rescue mission of sorts for war orphans turned out to be so much more for thousands of people and their families. I would also like to thank Ms. Molly Holt for dedicating her life to the wellbeing of countless children.

Although there have been some difficult times in my life, I am still extremely grateful to have been given the gift of adoption. This would not have been possible without the dreams of Harry and Bertha Holt.

Megan Green | Holt Adoptee

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