Coming Full Circle

Three Korean adoptees reunite for the first time since they came home to their adoptive families in the U.S.

We have a connection that others may not understand, but to us, it’s who we are. About 18 years ago, the three of us were given up for adoption — a choice we will forever be grateful for because it brought us to the lives we live today. We, 4-month-old Korean babies, arrived to our new loving families in Des Moines, Iowa and quickly parted ways. Annie started her new life in Iowa while Sarah and I traveled to our homes in Nebraska. As the years progressed, my family and I moved to Minnesota.

Kathryn Kaiser, Annie Detweiler and Sarah Lutjens were all born within a couple weeks of each other in March 1995. They came home to their adoptive parents  on July 11, 1995.

Kathryn Kaiser, Annie Detweiler and Sarah Lutjens were all born within a couple weeks of each other in March 1995. They came home to their adoptive parents on July 11, 1995.

Our families stayed in touch through Christmas cards every year. I’d open the envelopes and see these faces that really didn’t mean much to me other than my “gotcha day” buddies. Years passed and technology advanced. We all joined Facebook and added each other as “friends,” although we were still just strangers with this connection that none of us really understood. But we knew it was always there. We started chatting and that led to exchanging phone numbers and texting away. As time progressed, so did our curiosity. Cyber “friends” just didn’t cut it anymore.

We decided to take matters into our own hands. We concluded that too much time had passed and we needed to officially reunite. To find a date that worked for all of us was challenging, but we finally came up with a time that worked with our chaotic schedules. Thank goodness we were so determined — a trait we figured came from our adoptive parents, who had shed blood, sweat and tears years ago to complete the process that would allow them to call us their “daughters” (not to mention the cramping they endured in their hands to fill out all the paperwork).

One weekend last July, Annie and Sarah came with their moms to my small town in Minnesota. The initial reunion was a tad awkward, but we quickly became extremely comfortable around each other. The first night, we stayed up late to just talk about everything and anything. We all felt like we could talk about our past and relate to each other in a way that no one else could. I, personally, talked to them about certain topics I wouldn’t even consider bringing up with anyone else.

Seventeen years after they arrived in the U.S., the girls and their mothers reunite at Kathryn’s home in Minnesota. From left, Annie and Kay Detweiler, Sarah and Janelle Lutjens, and Kathryn Kaiser with her mom, Sheryl.

Seventeen years after they arrived in the U.S., the girls and their mothers reunite at Kathryn’s home in Minnesota. From left, Annie and Kay Detweiler, Sarah and Janelle Lutjens, and Kathryn Kaiser with her mom, Sheryl.

On Saturday, we explored the wonderful attractions around the area and continued bonding. They met some of my friends and everything went so well that time flew by too fast. Before we knew it, the girls and their moms were hopping into their vehicles to journey back to their homes. Ever since, we’ve remained immensely close. We talk about the amazing weekend that made us grow as individuals because we had this chance to swap stories. Now, Annie is going to head off to Marquette University in Wisconsin in the fall. Sarah’s journey will continue in Omaha at UNO. As for me, I’ll start a new chapter at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. Our personalities may be opposite at times, but our lives have never been more connected — especially as we all graduate this May and begin a new phase of our lives.

Kathryn Kaiser | Marshall, Minnesota

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*