Beth Kido, WACAP’s Korea program manager, shares about three trips taken between the spring and summer—a family vacation, an emergency visit home, and a trip to Korea for WACAP. Taking us through the joy and loss she experiences, she reminds us about the children in Korea waiting for families to bring them through life’s ups and downs feeling cared for and loved.
“The Significance of Family: My Personal Journey”
By Beth Kido, WACAP Korea Program Manager
The past few months have been a whirlwind of travel and life changes.
Between spring and the start of summer, there were three major trips which gave me a new perspective on family.
In April, My husband and I took a family vacation with our daughter Keira. We have now been married 15 years and adopted Keira through WACAP about 10 years ago from an orphanage in China. This little light-of-our-lives swam, snorkeled and boogie-boarded through each afternoon. We enjoyed the warm, sunny beach and spending lazy days together.
The final day of our family trip, I learned my father had a serious illness and had been in the hospital a few days. Upon returning home, I learned he had a brain tumor with a limited number of days to live. I quickly flew to my home state to be at his side.
During his decline and after his death, I spent many hours talking with friends and family and remembering the good times, the hard times and his paternal influence as we celebrated his life. As I reminisce about what my family and my father gave to me—the importance of education, fostering lasting friendships, and an affection for other cultures and people—I know these are the foundations of what make me who I am. As the adoring daughter, I watched and listened and combined all my father’s best traits and teachings into a dedicated daughter, wife and mother, an adoptive parent, a friend, a traveler, a continual student, and an advocate for children without a home.
Upon my return to work at WACAP that spring, I planned the next trip in May to South Korea to discuss issues regarding international adoption with orphanage partners and adoption officials there. One highlight of the travel was the opportunity to visit the home of a foster family caring for one of our matched children who will soon come home to the U.S. to join his forever family.
The foster mother was thoroughly engaged with the young boy, barely one year old, along with his foster brother, a year older. Her immaculate home was arranged with mats on the floors and toys in cabinets, larger toys to one side – ready to be grabbed at any time. The bedroom outfitted with a pallet for naptime and a small crib with padding nearby. She was helping him learn words and skills, and she was dedicated to taking him to appointments for any medical issue.
South Korea has an exceptional fostering system through Holt Children’s Services-Korea, training and providing for the families willing to spend their days and nights caring for these relinquished babies unable to remain with their birth mother or father. This is the in-between stage, the temporary home: it’s good, but it’s not the forever home.
This life of the earliest years will help create important first foundations, and his new mother and father will be the ones to influence him in who he becomes.
Visiting the foster home in Korea reminded me what my daughter’s start was, although hers was in an orphanage in China. I couldn’t help but note how she is learning from my husband and I like I learned from my father. How this passes down to each generation creating a happy childhood of memories. The adoptive baby boy with the foster mother will remember her from photos and a few stories from his new parents, and he will grow to learn, explore and become who he is with the nourishment of his permanent family.
After the loss of my own father, I realized I am not sorrowful; I am actually happy in remembering each trait and interest I have that he passed along to me.
We know this little sweetheart I visited has a family dedicated to bringing him home, but what of the other children? The adorable, active and curious toddler that still waits for a forever home: for his father to teach him the importance of good education, about the world, how to earn a living, and how to be a good parent one day.
Sitting down to write, I’ve only just realized the common thread which ties all these trips together: the significance of family. Creating a family, the joy of family and the memory of family—what you bring and what you leave behind.
Related Post: Five Reasons to Adopt from South Korea
About WACAP Korea Program Manager Beth Kido: Beth first learned about WACAP when she and her husband Rodney adopted their daughter Keira from China in 2008. She joined the WACAP staff in 2013 and began managing the Korea adoption program, and she’s worked as a case manager for WACAP’s India program, as well. Beth is mom to four “children,” ages 35, 33, 29 and 11 years old. Outside of work, she loves visiting the beach, traveling to other countries, and reading historical fiction. She’s also fond of summer in Seattle and the flowers in her garden.