January 29th, 2013
It has been a while since I wrote last. As with my other letters, I know that this may never get to you. However, I wanted to write again to tell you some news: a few days ago I found out that I am pregnant with my first child. And I am so very happy.
The last few years have been a complete blur. I graduated law school and am now practicing as an attorney in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I work for a firm that is recognized as the top product liability firm in the country. I have traveled to Japan, California, Alabama, Kentucky and many other places this past year for work. I love my coworkers and I am appreciated for my hard work. At the same time, I am very involved in my family life. My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last year in December– Daniel is the kindest and most generous person I have ever known. My parents and sister are also doing very well — they are all a constant source of support and love. I could not ask for a happier life.
In my most peaceful moments though, my thoughts still turn to you. Today, I am thinking about how you must have felt in your first few days of finding out that you were pregnant. I am sure you were scared. I am terrified. But perhaps not in the same way you may have been. Even with all the successes I have had in my life so far, I am very afraid that I will not be a good enough mother to my child. I worry that one day he or she will grow up to resent me, or that he or she will wish that I was never their mother. I admit that over my lifetime I have felt these things about you. At times, I hated you for putting me through the feelings of guilt and abandonment that I have felt. But now, as a mother-to-be, I am suddenly filled with a better understanding of how very complicated your situation must have been. I now see how a mother can love a baby with every ounce of her being and still be conflicted, sad, and afraid about being able to raise her. I see how that fear can become paralyzing, but still without diminishing the love for the child. In the best of cases, that fear only makes our love fiercer, and our desire to provide and protect becomes all the stronger. And then we are forced to show bravery, whether or not we are ready.
At some point in my life, I started to realize the truth about you: you may be the bravest person ever to have touched my life. I may never have the chance to know you, but on this day yours is the life that I celebrate, even if only privately. You carried me for 9 months, and then you were strong enough in the end to let me go– to let me have a chance to have beautiful life. It was my job to live it, but you were the one who made it possible by saying, “goodbye” at the hardest of times. I will never know the thoughts that went through your mind the day you left me at the clinic. Or whether you came back for me, or even missed me. In any case, thank you for letting me go. In my 18 years of searching for you, I have never felt closer to you than I do right now. And I will continue to honor your life in the only way I know how: to grow and to be happy in the life I have made here in America.
Omoni, please do not worry about me. We both have more years to live and I do not want you to ever regret the choice you made. Although at times I have thought about how life would have been with you in Korea, I do not wish for a different life. I am proud of the work I have done, and I very much hope you are proud of me, too.
Of the things I wish most, it is that you have lived a happy and fulfilling life. I wish to meet you, but not more than how much I wish that you have found love and support in family and in your community.
I cannot wait to meet my little one. And I could not be more thankful for these blessings. Perhaps one day we’ll meet again. Until then, be well.
-Rachel (Shin Hye Rim)