Holt adoptee Hannah Martin shares her college application essay, in which she reflects on the meaning of motherhood.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea, which is 6,791.5 miles from my current home. From the hospital, into the arms of a complete stranger, I was put directly into a foster home full of people who would love me for a 6-month period. A new mother, father, sister and brother would nurture me as if I were one of their own. But one day, I would leave and they would receive another child to care for.
When I was 6 months old, an ambitious young woman from Louisville, Kentucky flew to Seoul, South Korea to pick up her squirmy, chubby, Asian baby girl. As the years went by, Angela and Mark Martin served as godly parents who met my every need and provided beyond the necessities. I lived a treasured life that any young orphan in Korea would envy. However, I knew that a question had festered in my mind throughout my entire life: Who is my real mother? I was always curious and anxious to discover what characteristics I had inherited from my biological parents, but I knew I wouldn’t know until I was 18 due to the closed adoption. The identity of my birth mother was something that I was always eager to find out.
In 2007, my adoptive mother and I went on a mission trip to Seoul and I instantly felt that sense of security. While there, I had the opportunity to experience my culture and heritage while taking care of young children and providing an unforgettable Christmas for them. I also had the chance to meet the very woman who cared for me during the first 6 months of my life. My foster mother was an older woman with frail hands and a heart of gold. We recognized each other instantly, as if there were a connection between us. After spending hours with my foster mother and an interpreter, we said our goodbyes and I cried until my eyes went dry. My adoptive mother stood by my side and cradled my head as I waved goodbye to my foster family.
While in Korea, my adoptive mother and I spent time together shopping and enjoying this extraordinary experience. On our flight home, we escorted four babies en route to their new adoptive families in California. When we landed in California and delivered a small baby boy to his new mother, a thought struck me. Even though I had always been curious about the identity of my birth mother, knowing her was irrelevant. I always called her my “real” mother, but in reality she was never a part of my life. The woman who was truly my mother in mind and soul was Angela Martin, my adoptive mother. She is the kind-hearted woman who helped me with my first loose tooth. She has celebrated 17 Christmases with me, 17 — almost 18 — birthdays, several bad driving experiences, my first broken heart, and many other moments in my life that I wouldn’t change for the world. I have known Angela Martin for approximately 6,000 days of my life, give or take a few. She flew 6,791.5 miles to find her stubborn soon-to-be daughter. Not a day goes by when I do not thank God for the blessing He has bestowed upon me by putting me in such an amazing home.
Hannah Martin | Milford, Ohio