Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War

Author MariJo Moore contacted me about an anthology she was putting together, a gathering of women's voices steeped with themes of  war, and asked if she could include a selection from my memoir Pushing up the Sky
I'm honored to announce the chapter “Fall, 1998” in Pushing up the Sky, along with a new introduction, now shares company in Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War, which includes work by an impressive tapestry of women's voices. 
Award-winning author MariJo Moore, asked women writers from around the world to consider the devastating nature of conflict—inner wars, outer wars, public battles, and personal losses and battles on the home front. Their answers, in the form of poignant poetry and essays, examine war in all its permutations, from Ireland to Iraq and everywhere in between. With contributions from well-known authors including Linda Hogan, Paula Gunn Allen, Carolyn Dunn, Kim Shuck, Terra Trevor, and numerous others, this moving anthology encompasses a wide range of voices. 
A page from Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War by Terra Trevor 
On a crisp December morning in 1984 under a bright blue sky in Seoul, Korea, a wide-eyed baby was readied to leave his homeland. Dressed in a pink bunting to keep out the winter chill, one-year-old Kook Yung was carried aboard Korean Airlines, and he set off for a new life; adoption in the United States. When the plane landed at Los Angeles International airport that boy was placed in my arms and he became my son. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. My story begins in 1953, shortly after I was born, when the end of the Korean War set the course of my life, because the ending of the war signaled the beginning of inter-country adoption of Korean-born children. 
After the war everything changed. Within a country with a long-standing national tradition of pure blood lineage, shared ethnic identity and culture, suddenly there were mass numbers of orphaned children. Many of these babies and children were mixed race, and were introduced to a largely unwelcoming homogenous Korea. Single mothers were shunned. Crowded orphanages operating with scarce resources were unable to accommodate the high numbers of orphans. In response, South Korea turned to alternatives to find a solution and Korean adoption was born officially in 1954. 
Today a growing number of families in Korea have begun to adopt and the country is hoping to eventually eliminate the need for adoption outside of Korea. Yes, the Korean people do adopt, I know this because I was invited to speak on a panel, and it was comprised of four American adoptive mothers and four Korean Nationals who are adoptive mothers, at the KAAN Conference in 2006, held in Seoul. 
Yet in 1984, when I adopted my son, Korea was a nation still struggling to come into its own. I had a profound knowing-feeling when the telephone rang the day we received our adoption referral. I was outside watering sprouting morning glories, and before I answered the phone, I knew it would be the adoption agency telling me about my soon-to-be child. 
The first time I held one-year old Kook Yung, immediately I understood something was far beyond ordinary about him. He was a calm and centered baby, in a way that let you know he possessed a great amount of wisdom. His presence made skeptics believe in angels. 
I didn’t know that my son’s life would be short and that he would live to be only fifteen, and that I was being called for the highest motherhood duty. Yet if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. The amount of joy Kook Yung brought me outweighs anything else, and has made me whole.

Copyright © 2008 Terra Trevor. All rights reserved.