7. Saturday, December 20, 2014 – Growing up in a Korean orphanage.
People often ask us, “What happens to the children in Korean orphanages after they grow up?” “Are they able to find jobs?” “Can they get married?”
Just like it’s impossible to predict the average child’s outcome at birth, it’s difficult, at best, to characterize the thousands of children living in Korea’s orphanages today. Each situation is unique, and yet, people are often surprised when they hear us talk about the very successful young adults, who have grown up in Korean orphanages, and whom we’ve had the opportunity to meet and help.
We can’t take any credit for their success; these are very motivated and talented individuals who have risen above their troubled beginnings, often without a lot of support or resources. We all love these stories, and we need more of them.
We’re honored to share Hyedong’s first person reflection on growing up in a Korean orphanage and who he’s become. We need more Hyedongs in this world.
Hello. I’m Hyedong (Alex). I am currently working in the overseas sales department of LSIS (formerly part of the giant Korean company, LG). It’s been already 2 years since I joined this company.
Actually, I majored in electrical engineering, but one reason why I could apply for a position in the overseas sales division was because of your (KKOOM) sincere support and love. I met Aimee, who is the co-founder of this organization, many years ago when I was living in Samsungwon (orphanage in Gumi).
I’m now about 26 years old (international age) and lived at Samsungwon until I graduated from university. I still remember that I was very shy in speaking English with native speakers who volunteered to help me, through Aimee’s introduction. At that time [around 2005], I had just entered university. If I didn’t get that lucky opportunity, I couldn’t even imagine that I would work now with many non-Koreans, even though I still struggle with English.
Let me tell you my short life story begining with my childhood. I got to Samsungwon with my two older brothers when I was 4. I think I was a pretty naughty boy and made the orphanage a mess every day. When I was young, I complained a lot about my circumstances, especially when I had to tell my family situation to others.
I also didn’t really appreciate being loved and given many things such as scholarships, gifts, free private Academy lessons, and tutoring from volunteers, etc. I wasn’t a big fan of studying, but as I knew many people around me had been praying and supporting me continuously, I couldn’t really give up studying as my role and responsibility as a student.
Anyway, I had good grades at university, but I don’t think I achieved it only by myself. I think it was a part of God’s plan. I believe God led me this way, and he tells me that I need to return the favor and love in my lifetime.
I do have a dream to definitely accomplish, which is build a scholarship foundation so that I can at least share the many benefits that I received. I sometimes forget this huge favor and pretend that I got here only with my talent and ability. Yet, I know how ridiculous and silly I am.
I think I got off track, but what I really want to tell you is: thank you very much. Thank you for everything that you have given to us.
I’m going to get married to my beautiful fiancee next year on February 28th. I can’t wait for it to come. LOL. I hope all of my younger brothers, sisters and friends who I met at Samsungwon will have a loving family in the near future, as I’m looking forward to starting.
In the end, I appreciate that you read my story. Thank you.
Note: We edited Hyedong’s post with his permission to improve the ease of reading for our English language audience. However, these are his own personal thoughts and views, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of KKOOM.