Saturday, June 15, 2013

a day @ eastern social welfare society

Today I spent the majority of the day at Eastern Social Welfare Society. My trip happened to coincide with the Dillon Birthland Tour, which was a real treat. I only spent a few hours with the tour group, but loved every minute! 
The first item on the agenda was meeting Dr. Kim. I will always regret that I didn't meet her father when I visited in 1994. I believe he was a great man who loved us all. It was wonderful to hear her speak. After that we took a tour of Eastern. We went to the various offices in the building and said hello.
After that we went to the file room. Eastern started adoptions in 1973. So although I'm not part of the first wave of Korea I'm in the first decade of Eastern. There are 2 rooms filled with files. This is a picture of files from the past. It is actually two rows deep of the filing cabinets and files on each side of the shelves. In the room next door are all the files that are "current". Again the shelves are 2 rows deep with files on either side. 
After that we went to the area where current babies and toddlers are waiting for adoption. We saw some real cutie pies!!!
We also saw the room where all the Eastern adoptees get their pictures taken...the red thrones. 
The morning ended with a wonderful lunch at the Eastern cafeteria. I wish I could have spent more time with the tour group. I had the chance to get to know another adoptee who was on the tour but was also staying with her birth family. It's the first time I've actually met someone in the same circumstances. It was nice to debrief for a few minutes with her. 

Onto the afternoon! It was now time to do a file review. I had never seen my file, so I thought that this would be the perfect visit to do it. To be honest my file was thick, but about 2/3 of it was filled with correspondence from the last two years in regards to reunion. 1/3 of my file was from my adoption. I saw the home study reports and the post placement reports from my parents' social worker. It was interesting to see what had been written about my parents and then my adjustment to America. The most interesting piece of paper was a handwritten paper in the back with a red thumbprint. That was my intake form. I so wanted a copy. I tried to convince the social worker, but she said she couldn't. She wanted to know why I wanted it, I'm not sure she understood. The  most interesting thing about this story though is she said I only saw that paper because I met my birth family...which makes me wonder for my friends who aren't in reunion and have done file reviews...
Next was a moment I had been looking forward to since I planned my trip...seeing my nephew's foster mother. She is a beautiful lady inside and out and can't wait until she sees my nephew again. When I told her he might be back in a few years, she started squealing with joy and clapping her hands. When she saw the CD they had sent she became very excited, too since she knew pictures would be on it. It was a gift to see her again! 
Finally I had a translated meeting with my omma and 3rd sister. It was nice to have one conversation where we understood everything each other was saying. There was a lot of laughter during our conversation. I wish there were more translations of conversations, but I'll just say that sometimes I'm thankful to not know what is being said, lol. 
Thank you Eastern for a wonderful day! I will be back soon!

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