Upstairs in my closet, tucked away in a box of keepsakes, you’ll find the beginning of my story, typed out in simple sentences, on delicate sheets of aged paper. Sung Hee Choi, was born in Jun Buk, South Korea on March 21st, 1981. Under family history, it simply states that on March 23rd, she was signed over to Jun Joo Counseling center from “natural (birth) mother.” And amidst medical and developmental history notes, it concluded that she was “expected to grow up into a healthy child if cared for with love and understanding and if given good care with continued attention.”
Being adopted, throughout the years, I’ve been asked different questions, but amidst those, there is always this same one, “Would you ever want to find your ‘real’ mom?” And my answer has always simply been, no. Because from the moment that I was placed into Loretta Sue Perry’s arms, I had found my “real mom.”
She (and my Dad) were the ones that accepted me into their family as their very own. Because of their love, I did grow into a healthy and well cared and very much loved child. And I really thrived and succeeded in life in many ways because of the love that my “real mom” had for me.
That love would continue (bless her) through my difficult Jr. and Sr. High School years. I remember at times, in my own selfishness questioning her love, but knowing deep down inside that it truly was always there.
My first year of college, I had this great realization that most every single thing that my Mom did, she really did out of her love for me. I didn’t always understand it at the time, but I’m so glad that she stuck with me.
When Jeremy and I decided that we would have a four month engagement, it was my Mom who got to work and helped with every aspect of wedding planning. She helped me find my dress and order flowers and she and her friends would cook all of the food for my wedding day. I’m also thankful for my Dad, who was the one to pay for it all. He was also there with his love and support as well. Oh and for the record, it would all turn out perfectly.
My “real mom” was the one who was there for the births of both of my babies. She was the one that I’d call when I had a question or needed help or was just exhausted and needed someone to vent to. She’d always be willing to listen and give advice and let me know that she would pray for me. Those prayers would get me through many, many things.
And though we’ve had our ups and downs, she’s really been the glue that’s held us all together. Growing up, I’d never say that my mom was the kind of mom who was more like a friend. No, she was too busy, being exactly what we girls needed, which was a mom. But in my adult years, I’m thankful that while always my mom, she’s also become like a friend and I’ve loved the times we’ve shared on her visits out to New York. Whether it’s driving up to Tanger to buy any one of her sixteen grand kids presents or taking a train out to see a Broadway play, I very much treasure the special times we’ve spent together.
Oh, and I love how she’s always loved our kids and fully embraced her role as the spoiling Grandma.
My Mom’s great legacy, probably came from her mom’s great legacy. Most importantly, my Grandma was the one who taught my Mom to love Jesus and serve Him and she in turn was the one who with my Dad taught us to love and serve Jesus as well. It’s the legacy that I’m holding on to as I strive to teach our kids those very same things. Because I truly believe that there is nothing greater that we could pass on, than a strong faith and love for God and doing the great things that He has in store.
There’s this poem that my mom has tucked in between the pages of our baby books that I’ve always loved. It reads:
Once there were two women who never knew each other,
One – you do not remember, the other you call mother.
Two different lives shaped to make yours one,
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first gave you life, and the second taught you to live in it.
The first gave you a need for love and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality; the other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent; the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions; the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile; the other dried your tears.
One gave you up – that’s all she could do.
The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.
On this Mother’s Day, I wanted to take time to honor my mom and those moms out there who’ve chosen their families through adoption. Mom, I’m so thankful that you are my “real mom” and that you have always been there for more. Though we can’t be together on this day, I look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you for all that you’ve done for me and Leslie and Sarah and for the incredible example of love that you gave us. I hope you have an amazing Mother’s Day, and I love you very much.