A Korean foster mother's story

I've often thought of LM's foster mother since he's been home. I know that although his stay with her was only about 5 months, it still must be painful. She doted on him and loved him very much.

As soon as we were home from Korea, I emailed our social worker in Korea so she could let Mrs. M and her family know that LM made the trip safely. And since we've been home, I've written her a letter with photos, but still need to get it in the mail. Must do it soon!!

I know LM misses her. Who knows if he remembers her face or not. He hasn't really responded to her photos. And I'm not sure he even recognized her voice when he heard it on a video. But I do know that the impression and emotional memories of her have lasted these past months.

A friend was surprised at this. "I thought he'd have forgotten her by now," he said. I was shocked at this notion. "Would your grandchild {a similar age} forget his mother after just a few months?" I asked. "Of course not," he responded. Why would LM be any different? Such strange notions people have about what adopted children feel and think.

Others have said, "he'll forget her soon," as if I'm pained by the fact that he had a foster mother at all. This drives me nuts! I'm glad he misses her. Glad he knows the value of someone who loves him. Glad that he connected to her so much that he grieves for her.

As these children grow, they may or may not have the chance to find their birth mothers. But they could have a chance to know their foster mothers, and that link to Korea might be very important to them down the road. Our hope is that LM will get to know Mrs. M one day. And can learn more about what he was like in the time before he joined our family. She may be a bridge for him, between this life, and his Korean life. What a wonderful and hopeful thought.

Until our adoption is finalized, we are not allowed to have direct contact with Mrs. M. All correspondence must go through our social worker. And the only way we can send her a package is to send it with another adoptive family who is making the trip.

That's fine for now. But after the finalization, we hope to have the channels of communication opened between our families. There will still be a communication challenge, but in the day of the internet, even that can be handled easily and quickly. I've heard of setting up a website where she can go to see photos and videos of him. No words are necessary to see how well he's growing!

Here's a link to a great story written by a Korean foster mother. I've wondered why these women do what they do, and this gave me a little insight. As the rules have changed now in Korea, there will be an even larger demand for foster parents. Hopefully all of them are as kind and loving as Mrs M, and the foster mother who wrote this piece:

There are several really touching parts of the story. This quote really moved me because it echoed the hopes that we have, and some of the reasons we want to be able to stay in touch with the family:

"Adoptive parents have the worth and joy of raising the child. But foster mothers take care of babies under the proposition that those babies should leave them. This is impossible without considerable love. The relationship is formed only for a short time, but it cannot be ignored. A biological mother gives a baby her life, but a foster mother has the big responsibility of taking care of the baby until he or she is adopted. After they grow up, sometimes the children search for their biological mothers. If they can’t find their biological mothers, foster mothers become their only Korean acquaintances. Foster mothers watch them grow up from afar until they become adults who have overcome their conflict and pains."

It's that whole "it takes a village" notion, and who wouldn't want to stay in touch with the people who cared so carefully for your child?

Coincidentally, the link to this story was passed on by a fellow adoptive mother, Jane, who lives in North Carolina. We carried a package for the foster mother of Jane's son, who came home in Dec. 2010. When we delivered the package to our social worker, she noted that she was also Jane's social worker.

Small world!


  1. Thanks for sharing this article. My son was with his foster family for 2 years and we are lucky enough to have an ongoing relationship with them. The foster parents are the real heroes in adoption.

  2. I read the story very carefully. Korean foster mothers story is so educative. Foster parents are actually feel sorrowfulness of fostering children.
    foster care


We'd love to hear from you but we aren't mind readers, OK? Just take a minute to share your thoughts and you'll make us really, really happy.