Journey 2009 Essay

Kevin family 방문기

Dear Mr. Park and Andy,

Thank you so much for the rare and generous opportunity to participate in Journey 2009, The Trip to Korea for Korean Oversees Adoptees. Without your financial support, planning and personal enthusiasm, such a trip would be only a dream for many of the adoptive families who participated.

Before the trip, we hoped that through Journey 2009 our daughter Sacha would absorb the sights, sounds and smells of her birth country and that these and other experiences would form a strong foundation for her understanding of her birth place and its rich culture. We want her to be equipped with the knowledge first hand of what it means to be Korean so that she can identify directly with that part of her heritage and explain it to those around her.

All that was accomplished and more. We were fascinated to see our daughter embracing Korean culture and believe we witnessed another side to her that was impossible to see at home. We saw the traits in her that were brought out by her surroundings and an ease at to slipping into the Korean lifestyle that was perhaps more challenging for some of us Westerners. We sincerely thank you for helping us see that side of her. We asked her last night what she liked most about being in Korea, she replied" I like looking like everyone else with my black hair and olive skin- at home you look like everyone - here I do! And I love kimchi!"

Above all, we wanted Sacha to understand that having different roots that her friends and classmates was a gift to be proud of. The experience of Journey 2009 provides great context for many conversations concerning many important key issues for Sacha and our family including details of her adoption, what it means to be Asian, and how lucky we are to have her as our daughter.

A key element of the experience was also bonding with the other families and adoptees on our tour. We were very happy with the mixture of ages on our trip. Specifically, it was essential to have the young adult adoptees as well as the children experiencing this together. The kids learned alot watching their older counterparts experience and vice versa. We also had an exceptional group of young adults who were fantastic role models, friends and mentors to our children.

As parents, we were in Korea briefly in 2002, and like any new parents, the first weeks were a blur. We are grateful to have had this chance to return and be able to fully enjoy and explore our daughter's Motherland. We leave Korea with a greater and invaluable understanding of the country, its culture, the insights of other adoptees and their families, and many great new friends both Korean and Canadian.

Thank you again for your dedication and generosity. Your support reflects the quality and character of the JinHeungMoonHwa Co., its executive and its employees.


박경진 회장님과 박형호 사장님께

2009 입양인 한국 방문 여행, 이렇게 귀하고 좋은 기회를 주셔서 감사합니다. 이런 경제적인 지원이 없이 개인적인 열망으로 계획을 세웠다면 이런 여행은 그저 꿈으로 끝나고 말았을 것입니다.

여행 전에, 우리는 2009 여행을 통해 우리 딸 사샤가 자신의 모국에서 보이는 것, 소리, 냄새 등 발전된 문화를 받아들여 조국에 대한 확고한 인식이 생겨나길 바랐습니다. 우리는 그 아이가 한국에 대한 정보로 무장하여 모국을 확인하고 그녀를 둘러싼 환경을 설명할 수 있게 되기를 바랐던 것입니다.

그 희망은 모두 (혹은 예상보다 더) 이루어졌습니다. 우리는 우리 딸이 한국 문화에 흥분하는 모습을 기쁜 마음으로 지켜봤습니다. 그리고 집에서와는 전혀 다른 모습을 볼 수 있었다는 사실에 놀랐습니다. 우리는 그녀의 환경이 가지고 온 그녀의 특성을 보았고 우리 같은 서쪽(서양) 사람들에게는 하나의 도전이 되는 한국의 생활상으로 자연스레 미끄러져 들어가는 그녀를 볼 수 있었습니다. 그녀의 그런 면을 보게 해주셔서 감사합니다. 어젯밤에 우리는 딸에게 한국에서 가장 좋았던 게 뭐냐고 물었습니다. 딸애는 “내 검은 머리와 올리브색 피부와 똑같은 사람들을 보는 게 좋았어. 집에서 엄마 아빠가 다른 사람이랑 비슷하게 보이는 것처럼 나도 그랬어! 그리고 나는 김치가 좋아!”라고 대답했습니다.

무엇보다, 우리는 사샤가 그녀의 친구들 혹은 학우들과는 다른 뿌리를 가지고 있다는 사실을 이해하기 바랐습니다. 2009 여행은 여러 중요한 이슈들을 이야기할 수 있는 사샤와 우리 가족의 대화의 장을 마련해 주었고 아시아인인 그녀를 우리 딸로 입양한 것이 얼마나 우리에게 행운인지도 말해줄 수 있는 기회가 되었습니다.

이 경험의 열쇠가 되는 요소는 다른 입양인들과 그 가족들과의 만남이었습니다. 우리는 다양한 나이에도 불구하고 매우 행복했습니다. 특별히, 입양된 젊은이들과 아이들이 함께 체험하게 한 것은 매우 중요하다고 봅니다. 아이들은 자기들보다 나이가 많은 사람들과 함께 체험하고 많은 것들을 함께하면서 뭔가 배워나갔습니다. 우리는 그 젊은이들이 우리 아이들에게 훌륭한 롤 모델, 친구, 멘토가 되어준다고 생각했습니다.

부모로서, 우리는 2002년에 잠시 한국에 있었고 다른 새로운 부모들과 마찬가지로 흐릿한 한 주를 보냈습니다. 우리는 우리 딸의 모국에 다시 한 번 돌아와서 무척 즐거운 한 때를 보낼 수 있어서 기쁘게 생각합니다. 우리는 한국에 대한 가치를 매길 수 없는 이해, 이 나라의 문화, 다른 가족들과 입양인들과의 만남, 한국과 캐나다 친구들을 한꺼번에 얻고 한국을 떠납니다.

여러분의 헌신과 관대함에 다시 한 번 감사드립니다. 여러분의 도움은 진흥문화사와 그 중역들과 직원들의 사회적 지위와 성격을 반영하는 것이었습니다.

From: Kevin Ellis



 
Fulford Family 방문기

Dear Chairman Park; On behalf of my family (wife Maria, children Luka [Kim, Heung Nam] and Maddie) we wish you our deepest thanks for the experience of Journey 2009. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience with our homestay family. There was an immediate connection between our children; they played together having no barrier of language in the slightest. We liked being able to help out with the activity in the household, preparing meals or feeding a baby... simple experiences that allowed us to feel integrated into the home. We feel that as a result of the Journey, our whole family realizes a greater connection to our Son's home land. We have learned much about the country, the culture, and the history of this amazing country. I know that Luka feels an even stronger connection to Korea; and more greatly understands the relevance of our Korean culture classes back home in Ottawa. Overall, we cannot say enough about the positive experiences of Journey 2009! Our memories will be cherished, and treasured for years to come. ~~~~~ Page 2 - feedback on Journey 2009 The positive feedback very much greatly outweigh anything else. . we gained entrance to sites and cultural events or activities that we are certain we couldn't have gained entrance to had we been traveling on our own. Each cultural event or tour we rich in history and significance . the family homestay is critical to the overall Journey experience and we absolutely encourage this to remain a firm part of the program. We realize that having Korean families open their homes to visitors is not common so being integrated into a family is on its own a highly valuable cultural experience . having a mix of families with young children with older adoptees was great, from our perspective (would be interesting to know how the older adoptees felt about that). The older adoptees provided positive role models for our kids (whether adopted or not), provided a great mix of personalities to the Journey, and generally made the trip more fun Again, please accept our deepest thanks.

Dean, Maria, Luka, and Madeleine Fulford

박경진 회장님께

첫 번째 편지

마리아와 루카와 매디, 우리 가족은 2009 여행에 대한 가장 깊은 감사를 전하고자 합니다.

우리는 홈스테이 가족과 함께 즐거운 시간을 보냈습니다. 우리 아이들과는 즉석에서 만났지만 언어의 장벽 없이 함께 놀 수 있었습니다. 우리는 집안일도 함께 하고, 음식을 나누며 아이들을 먹이기도 했습니다. 이런 작은 일들이 우리를 하나로 느껴지게 했습니다.

여행이 끝나고 난 뒤, 우리 모든 가족들은 우리 아들의 모국과 깊은 인연을 맺었다는 것을 느꼈습니다. 한국의 문화와 역사의 뛰어남에 대해 더 많이 알게 되기도 했습니다. 루카는 이번 여행을 통해 한국과 단단히 연결되게 되었습니다. 그리고 오타와의 집으로 돌아가 배우는 한국문화교실의 적절함에 대해서도 더 많이 이해하는 눈치입니다.

끝으로, 우리는 2009 여행이 얼마나 고무적이었는지 말로 표현할 수조차 없습니다! 우리 기억은 소중하고 귀하게 간직될 것입니다.

-------------------------------------------------------------

두 번째 편지

긍정적 피드백은 다른 어떤 것들보다 가치가 있습니다.

우리는 자체 여행에서 얻지 못했을 장소 입장과 문화 이벤트, 활동 등의 기회를 얻을 수 있었습니다. 이러한 문화적 이벤트와 여행으로 우리는 역사를 더 풍부히 알 수 있었습니다.

가족 홈스테이는 비판의 여지가 있지만 우리는 이 제도를 계속 지속시켜 나가는 것이 좋다고 생각합니다. 이것으로 인해 우리는 한국 가족들이 자신의 집을 손님들에게 개방시키는 것이 흔히 있는 일이 아니고 가족들을 하나로 묶어주는 것이 높은 가치가 있는 문화생활이라는 사실을 알았습니다.

우리 시각에서 보자면 어린 아이들과 성인 입양인들을 함께 활동하게 한다는 것은 매우 좋았습니다(성인 입양인들은 어땠는지 몰라도). 그들은 우리 아이들에게 좋은 모델이 되어 주었습니다. 게다가 여행을 더 개성 넘치고 재미있게 만들어 주기도 했습니다.

다시 한 번 깊이 감사드리며

Dean, Maria, Luka, and Madeleine Fulford



 
Willem Family 방문기

It has been a month now since we came back from our 2009 Motherland Tour of Korea. This trip has been an amazing experience for me and my 5 year old son. I would like to thank the Jinheung Moonhwa Co., Ltd for sponsoring us and making it possible for us to see the beautiful country where Alex was born. Especially, I would like to thank Mr. Kyung-Jin Park, Founder and President of JinHeung Moonhwa Co. and Mr. Andy Park, CEO of Jinheung Moonhwa Co and Mr. Choi of making this Motherland tour possible.

This tour was very successful because of the excellent executed agenda that was setup for this year’stour. Although it felt busy at some times there was never a moment of any worries or uncertainties of what was going to happen.In addition, it is needless to say we also were never bored. The schedule is so well constructed that we were able to experience a lot of Korean culture and so much of the entire country it self, so much so that I would have never been able to do on my own in two weeks time. Above all, the experience of true Korean life through the home-stayis unforgettable and so valuable to my son and me it is hard to bring to words. It is extraordinary that these home-stay families voluntary give up part of their house and give up a lot of their time to complete strangers. They put in a lot of effort to make us feel comfortable, to cook for us and to take us out for dinner and many more things they do for us. We were especially fortunate as we stayed with the nicest people you can meet. They took so well care of us that I felt practically part of their family. We still have frequent contact with them now that we are back in Canada. An experience that can not be replace with anything and a big part what makes a successful motherland tour.

The first week touring in Seoul were great and well executed. It was gripping to see the DMZ and experience first hand that Korea is split in two by an "iron curtain" Fantastic to experience the old traditions like the tea ceremony and mask dancing, and making traditional food and craft. Visiting the Social Welfare Society was a special experience as well where we were able to meet with Alex’s foster mother but also with my younger son Derek’s foster parents. We had the pleasure of meeting Alex’s foster mother before during the adoption process but never had the opportunity to meet with Derek’s foster parents. What a great experience that was for me and Alex.

The second week we left Seoul on a tour with humorous Mr. Andy Park as our tour guide and MC. We toured through the country and visited many amazing sites eg. the mountains, temples, folk village, ancient burials. Not to forget wonderful Jeju island. Besides the activities I should not forget all the Korean food we had for lunch or supper. The so delicious Kalbi and bulgobi but also the sashimi and the very fresh seafood in Jeju island. An unforgettable cultural and food experience.

Lastly I would like to say that this tour was an excellent experience not only for me but also for my almost 6 year old son. As parents we have always made him proud of where he was born but this trip has reinforced this. This trip is part of his identity that he is forming. I also find that this trip helps me as a parent of two sons that were born in South Korea to help them and guide them to see Korea as part of their identity and form a connection with their birth country that they can be proud of.

Thanks again to everyone who has made this trip unforgettable for me and my son Alex


우리가 한국에서 2009 입양인 여행을 마치고 돌아온 지도 한 달이 되었습니다. 이 여행은 저나 5살된 제 아들에게 매우 놀라운 경험이었습니다. 알렉스가 태어난 아름다운 나라를 여행할 수 있도록 도와주신 진흥문화사에 감사드리고 싶습니다. 특별히, 박경진 회장님과 박형호 사장님, 최석환 이사님께 이 여행을 가능하게 해주셔서 감사하다는 말을 전합니다.

훌륭한 일정으로 짜여진 이 여행은 그 구성면에서 대단히 성공적이었습니다. 비록 가끔씩 너무 빡빡하다고 느껴지긴 했지만 대체적으로 아무 걱정이나 다음 스케줄에 대한 불안함 없이 여행을 할 수 있었습니다. 게다가, 전혀 지루할 틈이 없었습니다. 일정은 매우 체계적이었고 우리는 많은 한국 문화와 한국의 특성을 경험하며 2주 동안 우리 가족끼리 자체적으로 왔다면 절대 해보지 못했을 많은 일들을 해보았습니다.

무엇보다도, 홈스테이를 통한 진짜 한국 생활 체험은 저나 제 아들에게 말로 표현하기 힘든 잊지 못한 추억입니다. 홈스테이 가족들은 처음 보는 이방인들에게 진심에서 우러나오는 친절을 베풀었습니다. 그들은 우리가 편안히 느낄 수 있게 많은 노력을 기울였고, 우리를 위해 요리해 주었으며 저녁도 대접해 주고 세심하게 신경써 주었습니다. 그렇게 친절한 가족들을 만나게 되어 정말 다행이라고 생각합니다. 그들은 마치 우리가 그 가족의 구성원인 것처럼 대해 주었습니다. 우리는 캐나다에 돌아온 후에도 그 가족과 자주 연락하고 있습니다. 이 경험은 다른 어떤 것과도 바꿀 수 없으며 성공적인 이번 여행의 커다란 한 부분이었다고 하겠습니다.

첫 번째 주에 이뤄진 서울 여행은 매우 잘 이루어졌습니다. DMZ를 보고 한국이 ‘철의 장막’으로 인해 두 개로 나눠졌다는 것을 알게 되어 흥미롭게 생각했고 오래된 전통인 차 문화와 탈춤을 본 것은 환상적이었으며 전통 음식과 수공예를 접한 것은 놀라운 경험이었습니다. 사회복지관을 방문한 것은 알렉스의 친어머니와 데렉의 친부모를 찾을 수 있게 해주었다는 점에서 아주 특별한 경험이었습니다. 우리는 입양과정이 진행되기 전 알렉스의 친어머니를 찾을 수 있었지만 데렉의 친부모를 찾을 수는 없었습니다. 그러나 알렉스나 저에게는 뜻깊은 경험이었습니다.

둘째 주에 우리는 서울을 떠나 유머 감각이 넘치는 박형호 사장님을 투어 가이드로 하여 여행했습니다. 우리는 지방 여기저기를 다니며 멋진 곳들을 방문했습니다. 산, 절, 민속촌, 고대 무덤 등을 말입니다. 특히 아름답던 제주도를 잊을 수가 없습니다. 게다가 점심과 저녁으로 먹었던 한국 음식도 기억에 남습니다. 갈비와 불고기는 매우 맛있었고 제주도에서의 회와 해산물은 싱싱했습니다. 여러 모로 기억에 남는 음식 문화였습니다.

마지막으로 이 여행이 저와 6살된 제 큰아들에게 대단히 좋았다는 것을 말하고 싶습니다. 부모로서 언제나 아이가 자신이 태어난 곳에 대해 자부심을 갖게 해주고 싶었는데 이 여행은 그 일을 더 멋지게 도와주었습니다. 이 여행은 그의 자아 형성에 한 부분을 차지할 것입니다. 저는 이 여행이 한국에서 태어난 두 아들을 돕고 인도하는 데 도움이 될 것이라는 사실을 깨달았습니다. 또한 아이들 스스로가 자신이 한국의 일부분이라 여기며 자부심을 갖게 해줄 것이라고 믿습니다.

알렉스와 저에게 잊지 못할 추억을 만들어 주신 모든 분들께 다시 한 번 감사드립니다.

Willem & Alex Van Zwol, Whitby, Canada

 
Black family 방문기

June 24, 2009

Dear JinHeung Moonhwa Co.

Thank you for sponsoring this incredible trip. it gave our family the opportunity to not only see the beautiful sites of Korea, but also to experience its wonderful culture. perhaps, most importantly, it gave our youngest daughter, Rachel, who was born in Korea, a chance to see where she is from, to be proud of her heritage and to meet other Korean adoptees of all ages and hear their experiences. The trip has opened the door for Rachel to be able to talk about Korea and about being an adoptee from Korea. It will be an experience for her that will guide her through childhood to adulthood.

Our children would also like to share their thoughts with you:

"Thanks for sponsoring this trip! I loved exploring the food, culture, customs and traditions. This trip was a wonderful opportunity!"- Madeline Black, Age 13

"I like Dragonrock and down at the beach collecting seashells, building sandcastles and jumping in the waves. It was amazing to see where I was born!" - Rachel Black, Age 8

Thank you very much again for your kindness, generosity and hospitality.

Best Wishes
The black Family

 
Janet and Leevi Shutt 방문기

letter from Canada?

Greetings from Canada Hello everyone. We have returned to Canada, moved to a new home andhomestayed 8 Korean visitors for 2 weeks. I am now finally able to sitdown and write this letter to you. Sorry it has taken so long.

I have nothing but great things to say of our experience in Korea. Itwas busy but if I was given the opportunity to do it again I would doit in a minute. The amount of time that went into planning a tripsuch as this is incredible. So much thought was given to what weshould experience. I have gained so much knowledge and pride for acountry that has given us two precious sons. Initially I felt I shouldnot attend as I was not an adoptee. My mind was changed when I heardMr. Park say parents of younger children were invited so they couldlearn about Korea and talk about Korea and their experience with theirchildren. This is exactly what is happening. We talk about our tripand Korea almost daily. Leevi is developing such confidence in who heis as a Canadian Korean. My husband has noticed such a change in himsince he has visited Korea. Thank you!

I could tell you what I would like but they areas of personal interestand I would stay in Korea after the tour was over for a few days tofufill my wishes. You should all be very proud of yourself for howwell you organized the trip and how well it operated.

We had anamazing time. We are so thankful we lack the words to express our feelings.

I almost wish I was born in Korea, I said almost.

Thank you and May God richly bless each one of you for your efforts incaring for these children who were born in Korea.

 
Nocole Jee Hei Leigh 방문기

THANK YOU JINHEUNG for KOREA JOURNEY 2009

I want to thank you JinHeung for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. I had such a fantastic time in Koreaand I owe a lot of that your company. I very much appreciate everything that you did for our group in terms of our comprehensive daily itinerary, all of the wonderful places that we traveled to within the city and everyone that we met along the way; it was truly an amazing experience.

Mr. Choi was an excellent tour guide and he never led us astray on our journey; he was the perfect leader and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him. He never hesitated to answer any of our questions (when at times there were quite a few!) and was always a friendly face that we saw every day. He was very knowledgeable about the places we were going to and was extremely polite and courteous to every person he spoke with; he gained my respect immediately. Mr. Andy Park was also a great host as well. He was very animated in every story that he told us and had some great experiences to share with us that kept us entertained on those long bus rides throughout Korea.

I had the time of my life in Korea and it was incredibly heartbreaking for me to leave I hated to say goodbye so soon. In the future, I want to move there and live in either Seoul or in some of the more rural areas. I had the opportunity to see so much of the country while on this trip and I will never forget the landscape/scenery of the outskirts of Seoul as well as the downtown districts and how it never failed to take my breath away. It is something that you cannot quite describe to anyone else back home; it is something you have to see for yourself. I felt at home in Koreaand transitioned quite well into the different time zone and incredible bustle of the city life; another sight to see, especially at night when the city of Seoul lit up before my very eyes with magnificent colours. I loved the subway in Korea as well and how busy it was during daytime business hours and even at night. It was as if time did not stopand you were expected to keep moving forward faster and faster…it was completely fascinating to me! The shopping districts were fantastic to say the least; so vibrant and alive with people always having some place to be some where to go…just to sit and watch them pass by you intrigued me to no end.

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of (my trip to) Koreaand I would not trade my experience for the world. The fact that my sister and I were even able to go at last minute on such short notice makes it more memorable in my eyes. I learned so much on this trip that I know I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I learned tolerance in terms of adapting to a more modern culture from when I was last in Korea (15 years prior); I was educated in new customs I had never heard of before but eagerly wanted to learn and most importantly I learned the value of patience, kindness and generosity among the Korean people. There were so many occasions where I would see a group of elderly men or women walking together in groups, helping each other along the way whether it was while walking through one of the many folk villages we visited, or even down the street of Seoul. If someone fell, there would be someone else right there to make sure they were okay. I remember one night when Rosa and I went out for dinner, we had left our hotel pretty late and we felt bad about keeping the "security"man (or night guard) up as late as we were, due to the fact that he had to stay awake to let us back in and give us our key. So Rosa and I had bought some food/snacks at a local store and when we walked back to our hotel, she made sure that she gave the security guard one of the snacks that we had bought, as a kind gesture to say thank you. It was one of the most polite and courteous acts I have seen in a long time and so it was with a bigsmile that we said "thank you" and "good night" to him.It is something that is overlooked in most cultures by some people and others are just ignorant about it. That was one aspect of the Korean culture that I completely embraced because I feel I am a polite and generous person by nature so I felt like Ifit in just fine.

In terms of patience, the Koreans far succeed North American standards by far, at least in my opinion! When we visited ancient tea houses, the teachers who guided us through the steps of holding a teacup the proper Korean way and pouring the tea and how you sit and what you say, how you hold your hands, were extraordinarily patient with us and never lost their temper, even with the young children we had in our group. They would just simply repeat the instructions, wait to see how we performed and then gave us advice if we needed it. When we learned an ancient Bull dance that farmers perform at certain festivals throughout the year, our instructor was patient and tolerable of everyone, knowing how new we were to this kind of dance (because it literally was dancing!) and all the hand/arm and leg movements that went along with the beat of the drum. It was extremely hard work and we all tired after 20mins of continuous effort.If we had questions, he answered them. If we need to see one of the moves again, he would show us. He never once complained or got mad at us or did anything negative in any way. Even though we all knew how horrible we must have looked (especially once he split up the children and adults!), he continued to praise our effort and performance and encouraged us along. He displayed true dedication and commitment to his craft; therefore I instantly gained respect for him and what he had taught us.

I want to thank you JinHeung for everything you have done for us on this Motherland Tour. I could not have expected a more hospitable company than yoursand I know it made each of the families’ experiences that much more memorable in Korea. You made it possible for us to see parts of the country that other people may have never seen before, others, such as walking into/past the Silla Tombs or walking along the Freedom Bridge and seeing all the messages from families that have been torn apart by the war; I will never forget what it felt like to be there.

Thank you JinHeung for showing me Korea, the Motherland at her best. I gained a second family on this trip, extraordinary people who I will care about always, knowing that we shared two magnificent weeks in South Korea.

Yours Sincerely,

 
Becky Hurwitz 방문기

Dear Andy,

We are writing to thank you and the rest of the JinHeung MoonHwa Company for offering us the opportunity to visit Korea for the first time. As adult adoptees and sisters, we had always hoped to visit the country together. This trip enabled us to finally do so in a comprehensive and introductory way.

The homestay also gave us some wonderful and much-needed exposure to Korean family life. Eun-Hye was an amazing hostess, and she made every effort to make us feel comfortable and show us a fun time, whether in Jeju or out in the suburbs of Seoul. Her father, Mr. Oh, was so cheerful and funny and made every effort to make us feel comfortable. Her mother, Mrs. Kim, was sweet and gracious, and she prepared the most delicious meals for us.

Overall, we felt a strong association with the country through the food we ate on the trip. While we have both been exposed to Korean food in the United States, the meals we had in Korea far surpassed anything we have had before. The memory of eating fresh seafood and drinking Soju and in the shadow of the volcano in Jeju-do is one that we will never forget.

Other highlights included having a number of translators along on the trip, including Rosa, Jiyoung and Eun Hye. They not only added a sense of fun to our trips but enabled us to communicate effectively along the way. Additionally, it was valuable to be able to speak with Korean women who are similar ages as us. We really enjoyed the cooking class and also the countryside and Jeju trips, since they exposed us to different parts of the country.

One of the most significant highlights in the journey was the trip to our orphanage in Seoul, Korean Social Services. Before coming to Korea, we had known very little about our birth mothers or their situations upon giving us up for adoption. We had no idea that the orphanage actually had files on hand containing the names of our birth mothers and other details that could enable us to search for our birth families. As a result of this trip, Becky is embarking on a search for her birth family. Our hope is that this will result in another trip back to Korea, so she can be reunited with some of them.

Given our schedules and other constraints, we never could have taken this trip without your help, and we are so grateful for having had the opportunity to get such a thorough introduction to the entire country. It made for a great first trip, and we are fairly sure it won't be our last.

Best,

Jenny Hurwitz and Becky Hurwitz

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Per your request, here is a list of suggestions we have for future journey trips. We would prefer that you not print this If you have any questions or would like further clarification, please feel free to contact us:

1. Limit the size of the group to 15-20 people. This would enable people to have a much more intimate trip.

2. Cap the children's age at 7 or 8 years old. This might make travel easier, especially on the countryside tour.

3. Include a couple hours of free time on the third or fourth day to help ease jet lag.

4. Change room assignments on countryside tour stops at least once, to give people a chance to mix.

5. Provide a more comprehensive orientation in Seoul on the first day, including sharing maps and explaining locations of the lodgings and homestays and providing an overview of the tour schedule.

6. Give us a list of people who will be helping us while we're in Seoul in advance of the trip, so we can bring a sufficient number of gifts from our home countries.