Visiting Holt Children's Services Inc. (Holt Korea) 17 Years Later

Returning with other Korean adoptees to see where it all began

The Night Before

I always say how much I respect my birth mother but am indifferent about finding her. For years, I considered initiating a birth search; I have enough information and know people who I could go to for help that would make this feasible. However, I feel no need to have definite answers to unknown parts of my story. Nearly all of my time is devoted to academics and campus life at the University of Delaware. I question what I would get, or not get, out of this draining process if I choose to commit to a birth search. I am not scared of what truths lie in the city of Gwangju or in my files. Rather, I simply do not want to take part in anything that would steer my energy away from other priorities. At best, a search might give me answers that are nice (but not necessary) to know. 


To say that I was bewildered by my emotions during my trip to Korea last summer is an understatement. If I were so indifferent about my adoption process, then why was I constantly edge the night prior to visiting Holt Children’s Services of Korea? My nerves took over and stopped me from having a good night’s sleep. 

Holt Children's Services of Korea

As ridiculous as it sounds, gazing at the sky-high building and its sleek windows intimidated me. I finally relaxed once I stepped inside, where I heard babies crying and saw smiling Korean women ushering us to a conference room. After Holt executives gave welcome speeches, some of my peers met with their foster families. I did not, as my foster mother retired years ago and could not be reached. I felt no bitterness or resent; instead, I was deeply moved by the affection that the fosters families showed my friends. Though my dad and I looked out of place from people watching, we felt uplifted by positive energy that radiated within the conference room. 


I enjoyed stepping back during that time to just soak in every moment. I realized how ludicrous and irrational my feelings were but felt a small wave of anxiety course through my body once they called us to meet our social workers. 

My Files

After reviewing my files with the social worker, I walked away with minor findings on my birth mother’s hospital in Gwangju and how I was taken care of by two foster, instead of one, foster mothers prior to coming to the United States. I was surprised by how my files in Korea revealed new information that me and my parents did not already know about. 

Final Moments at the Agency

We concluded the tour by socializing with children who were in foster care. After about a half hour’s worth of playtime, none of us wanted to depart with the adorable toddlers.


Despite my nerves, I left Holt Children’s Services in high spirits. I am not sure as to whether I want to return but regardless, this experienced opened my eyes to Holt’s work.


With style,