44 Years Later, Korean Adoptee Explores His Roots on Holt Heritage Tour

A blog entry from Joah Mershon, a Holt adoptee currently traveling on a Holt heritage tour of Korea.  
Today, we went to Holt and conducted my roots search. Prior to the search, I was already aware that it may not produce any new results. The usual feelings of indifference, disconnection, confusion, fear, sadness and anger arose.
Joah with Sister Theresa at the White Lily Orphanage, the orphanage in Korea where Joah lived in the late 1970s before going home to his family in the U.S.
Joah with Sister Theresa at the White Lily Orphanage, the orphanage in Korea where Joah lived in the late 1970s before going home to his family in the U.S.

The reason why my mother abandoned me will forever remain a mystery, but it is clear that for whatever reason or reasons, she could not continue to care for me. This has weighed heavy on my heart, and I’ve finally come to terms with it. Dr. Cho explained to us that the consequences of war and division resulted in much strife and hardship for South Koreans.   Life became more difficult as access to resources dwindled.
To bring closure, I would like to say to my mother that I forgive you for doing what you had to do. I don’t blame you nor am I angry at you anymore. I hope that you were able to find peace and happiness in the midst of chaos.
While visiting the orphanage where he lived as a child in Korea, caregiver Sister Theresa sat him down in the children's play area and piled stuffed animals on him. Joah says it was the highlight of his visit.
While visiting the orphanage where he lived as a child in Korea, caregiver Sister Theresa sat him down in the children’s play area and piled stuffed animals on him. Joah says it was the highlight of his visit.
The only new piece of information I received was about the date and time that I was found. On Feb 24, 1975, I was discovered in the Suhbisan Police Drop Box in Taegu City. Since then, the station has closed and Taegu became Daegu.
Next, we travelled Daegu to retrace that part of my early life. We arrived at the former White Lily Orphanage and were met by Sister Theresa.  Meeting Sister Theresa was wonderful and invoked a familiar feeling of comfort and love. The highlight of the visit was when she sat me down in the children’s play area and piled stuffed animals on me. At the end of our visit, she gave me some juice to drink and hugged me. It warmed my heart to know that 44 years later, I felt how much love and care was given to me as an orphan.
Joah Mershon | Holt Adoptee
Learn more about Holt’s annual heritage tours for adoptees and families! Or visit holtinternational.org/pas to learn about Holt’s post-adoption services for adoptees, including birth search assistance, citizenship support and more. 

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