Friday, May 20, 2011

A moment of Silence

We received VERY sad news yesterday. Old Dr Kim from Eastern Social Welfare Society passed away at the age of 96.

Old Dr Kim (as he was affectionately know) was the founder of our childrens adoption agency in Seoul Korea. He started the agency at the age of 60 when he retired from public service. In the 36 years of the agency, they have grown to be one of the best & world renouned agencies for orphans, special needs children, foster care programs and medical treatment. The agency as also been run by Young Dr Kim (his son) and currently his daugther, Mrs Kim.

Old Dr Kim is a prominent feature in our kids adoption story, their coming home photo albums and family "lore". Tom and I had the privledge to meet Old Dr Kim on each of our trips to Korea, meetings which included lunch, conversations about our family and even a trip to church with him.

The trip to church is one of our favorite stories. Old Dr Kim was Methodist (which I also grew up in), he helped found the church and served on their board. He helped grow the church to OVER 70,000 members. They had a 200 member choir and 2 full orchestras. The service was in Korean, but they had translators on staff that translated the service into 5 different languages that you had immediate access to via headphones. It was like attending church with your Grandpa, everyone knew and loved him and we had the best seats in the house. The best part, realizing that churches everywhere are plagued by the same problems. The announcements at the end of service focused on treats/coffee and parking issues:)

Old Dr Kim is proof of the human spirit and that 1 person really CAN make a difference. He fought in the Korean War, escaped from a North Korea prisoner of war camp, had a successful career in public service, had multiple awards and medals AND STILL after retiring at age 60, decided to follow his dream - making lives better for the children of Korea.

So, when you think that you are too old to try or start something new or to have a dream - consider that Old Dr Kim made a difference to tens of thousands of kids AFTER he retired at age 60. What is your dream and what's keeping you for realizing it?

When you think that you are "only 1 person", remember that Old Dr Kim helped create families for (again) tens of thousands of families. What are you called to do as "1 person"?

When you think you dont have the time, patience, energy, etc ... to do that which are you called to do, remember...Old Dr Kim climbed a mountain every day at 4am into his 90's to start his day in prayer and meditation for all the children waiting for families, placed in families and all the children he personally touched in his life. What can you do, every day in a small way, to make your dream a reality?

For us, we are saddened by the lose of an amazing man, one who made our family possible in a way that no one else could.

God Bless you ALL!

(Below are the website postings on Old Dr Kim)

Dr. Kim, Duk Whang1915 - 2011
On May 18, 2011, Dr. Kim, Duk Whang, the founder of Eastern Social Welfare Society, passed away at the age of 96.

A man of great vision, passion and faith, Dr. Kim devoted more than three decades of his life to caring for orphans, single mothers and children with disabilities.

At 60 years old and soon after retiring from a career with the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Dr. Kim founded ESWS in the early 1970s. There were few services in South Korea for orphans and single mothers at that time. Domestic adoption was regarded as a confidential, personal matter and only a few children were adopted in the country. There were hundreds of thousands of children abandoned in the streets, bus stations, train stations and on doorsteps until the early 1980s. Through the efforts of Dr. Kim and ESWS, attitudes changed and tens of thousands of children have had the opportunity to grow up in a loving family formed through international and domestic adoption.

Until he was no longer strong enough, Dr. Kim would go to the mountain every day at dawn to pray for the well-being of the children waiting to be adopted, for the adoptees and the adoptive families. One of the things he enjoyed most was meeting and talking with adult adoptees and their parents – their happiness showed that his prayers had been answered.

From Eastern Social Welfare Society, Inc.
Dr. Kim, Duk Whang, the founder of Eastern Social Welfare Society, has completed his natural span of life and passed away at 96 years of age on May 18, 2011.

He served the Ministry of Home Affairs as vice-minister and the Korean Overseas Development Corporation as president. Retired from public office, he has devoted his life to social welfare services. In recognition of his distinguished services, he was awarded with Dongbaek Order of Civil Merit, 5.16 National Order of Merit, and Wubong Volunteer Recognition Award.

He was a faithful Christian, who has devoted his life for the vulnerable and the socially marginalized, especially children in need. He was one of the first generation historical researchers specializing in Gando and has written various articles and books on Korean history and religion and culture.