By Todd Eichberg
A Son Comes Home…
I don’t remember much about the days leading up to my adoption. I was 7-years-old and I was one of several orphans playing at a playground. It was hot and dry, typical for a Korean summer day. One minute, I was playing with the other kids at the orphanage, the next minute, I was whisked away by a man on a bicycle. I was taken to a hospital (later I found out that this was Eastern Social Welfare Society) where I was given shots and given new clothes to wear. I’m not sure how long I stayed at Eastern. My next memory is finding myself on an airplane with other children headed to America. I did notice that I was the oldest in the bunch.
I remember not knowing what to think. A part of me was so happy to finally get out of the orphanage. Yet another part of me knew that my life was changing forever. For so many years in my young life, I had been in survival mode. On numerous occasions, I had gone hungry having to resort to begging and stealing. I had lost my father, been abandoned by my mother; I had already experienced so much in my short life. All the other children on the plane headed to America were much younger than me. I remembered trying to comfort these other kids; I wonder if part of this was because I wanted to reassure myself that I was going to be OK too.
The only thing that I knew for certain was that my life, as I had known it, was going to change. I wondered what my life would be like. I wondered if my new family would like me. I wondered if I would like my new life. I wondered if I would ever return to my homeland.
I arrived at JFK International with nothing more than the clothes on my back. Sadly, even those clothes were given to me by the staff at Eastern Social Welfare Society. My new family was there awaiting my arrival. I felt so small. I felt overwhelmed. They gave me a stuffed teddy bear to comfort me. They bent down to my level, hugged me and welcomed me. Somehow, amid all the chaos, I knew that I was going to be OK. I knew that I would never go hungry again. When we arrived home, my parents showed me my new bedroom. They showed me my very own clothes, my very own toys, and my very own bed. Never had I had my own bedroom let alone my very own bed. They showed me love. After having lost a family, I had miraculously gained another one. I felt like I belonged once again.
The Journey Continues…
I am now 41 years old and preparing to enjoy another holiday season and welcome another new year with my family which includes my sons Dylan, 12, and Ben, 9, and my daughter Lily, 6.
The family and I look forward to this holiday season as we get to spend time with our extended families in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. We are so thankful for the health of our family, grateful for the good things that God places in our paths, and humbled at how fruitful our lives are. God is indeed good.
Today, I was able to drop off both Ben and Lily at school on my way to work. A tear started welling up as I watched with amazement at how quickly time has flown by. I sometimes look back at the summer of 1978, when my life changed forever. Looking back upon my adoption, I realize just how truly blessed I have been.