November has also been designated as National Adoption Month. We wanted to share a story from the perspective of one of our own, Sarah Trainor Graves, to add a personal perspective on adoption. We recognize that adoption is complicated and it’s important to honor and listen to the voices of those who have both been adopted and who have chosen to adopt. Please read below to learn more about Sarah’s story and consider donating to the Me & Korea organization on this Giving Tuesday.
My birthday is coming up on December 5th and I am in my feelings about it. You see, this is the first birthday since my life changing trip to Korea this past summer. While most people look forward to their birthdays, I am not in a celebratory mood. This year, my birthday represents pain, grief, and so much more.
Like so many adoptees, I was relinquished on the same day I was born. For most parents, a child's birth is one of the happiest days of their lives. I can only imagine this to be the opposite for the woman who birthed me. What I do know is that in Korea, there was, and still is, a stigma around unwed mothers. I know what it is like to birth children, and there wasn't a single time during my pregnancies that I was shamed by someone else for being pregnant. I can't imagine what my birth mother experienced for the nine months she carried me. Nor can I imagine how or what she feels every December 5th. I only pray that she is safe, healthy, and around people who support her every single day.
While some steps have been taken to reduce the stigma in Korea, the fact remains that it still exists. Me & Korea, the organization with whom I traveled to Korea with, works tirelessly to support adoptees, birth mothers, women who are currently pregnant, and children who reside in children's homes and/or orphanages. This year they are providing Christmas meals and gifts for nearly 350 children, elders, single parents, and birth parents.
For my 38th birthday and on Giving Tuesday, I want to honor my 엄머 (birth mother) and hope you will join me. While she may not have been supported while carrying me, I’d like to support those who are currently pregnant or are birth parents, and their children. Please consider donating to the Me & Korea organization as they undergo their holiday campaign and join me in honoring the woman who gave me life.