There are old photos of Tina Webb, as a child in her home country of Korea, where shes pictured with her biological parents. Theyre pictures she says she now cherishes. The photos were given to her, by her birth parents, thirty years after her father, 75-year-old, Suk Kwon Ko, said he unwittingly signed adoption papers that allowed a Korean orphanage to give his daughter away.
"It had been 30 years, 30 years until I found them," said Tina, who was adopted and raised by a couple who lived in Asheville. Both Tina and her Korean birth parents are deaf.
My parents were poor, they had nothing, they thought by taking me to the orphanage, for the special care I needed because I was deaf, that I would have better opportunities, said Tina.
After a chance meeting with a fellow Korean at a convention for the deaf in Las Vegas, Tina was able to reunite with her Korean parents in April of 2013. Tina has now traveled with her birth parents from Korea to Asheville. It's their first trip to the United States.
"Asheville is my home it will always be my home, "said Tina. She said she deeply appreciates her adoptive parents who raised her. But she always longed to know why her Korean parents gave her up. After the making the connection at the convention in Vegas, Tina began to pursue contact with her birth parents.
It was shocking, but an incredible blessing. It was fate, said Tina.
She retells what her father has told her about the orphanage where he left her. She says he would go to visit her daughter regularly. One day Suk tells through a translator, that staff at the orphanage had him sign some paperwork.
"He didn't understand what he was signing, "Said Tina. He thought it was related to the orphanage to keep me there." When he came back on a visit to see his daughter, she was gone.
The manager said we're sorry your daughter isnt here anymore, " said Tina.
Her father was devastated. He says he collapsed at the orphanage and had to be taken to a hospital. Suk said he realized he may never see his birth daughter again. After grieving he said he realized he had to go on and worked to become a farmer. But Suk never gave up hope he would someday reunite with Tina. For decades he carried a baby photo of her asking anyone he met if they knew his child.
He kept showing
pictures of me and he always had hope that he would find me," said Tina. "And now he has."
by Kimberly King
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