Week in Korea with Hae-bin

Attachment-1It was just like Ellen thing to do, I again abruptly decided I needed to go to Korea. 🙂  Good news is that this time around, my visit to Korea was a huge success.  I was able to support and love on Hae-bin’s mom and Hae-bin to my heart’s content. I was in Korea for one week and I’ve accomplished everything I had hoped.  Hae-bin’s heart surgery was set for Christmas Eve, but it got pushed out to two days later.  I was concerned that I may miss her surgery, but it ended up working out to my favor because it gave me more time to snuggle and give kisses to Hae-bin without tubes getting in our ways.  Thankfully, she did get healthier on the day of the surgery so the day went as planned.  Hae-bin went into surgery ready to fight.  We locked our eyes and with her big brown eyes, she expressed to me she was a fighter.  I love that about this baby girl.  But after her surgery I knew she was in excruciating pain. It was extremely difficult for me to watch her in so much pain and not being able to sooth her was the toughest part of the trip.

IMG_0449I had a deja vu moment watching Hae-bin’s mom under so much pressure and giving all she had to take care of her daughter alone in the hospital.  It was if I were watching my story playing out in front of me like a movie. Except this time around, it was with different actors and A.J. and I weren’t the ones who were starring in the movie. I found myself constantly saying that the setting looked too familiar and causing reminders of unwelcomed memories I had stored away.  It was sad to watch.  I wanted it to be just a sad movie but I had to accept that it was her reality.  However, I was thankful that she wasn’t alone and I was at the hospital with her.  Since my visit, Hae-bin’s mom and I have found love and admiration for one another.  We shared intimate stories, laughed like silly schoolgirls, cried like ahjumas, hugged like we were mother and daughter, and most importantly, we encouraged each other like sisters.  She was really honest and real with me.  She held nothing back.  Her story was very similar to mine yet unique in certain areas.  Certain parts of her story had me flabbergasted and speechless.  She couldn’t stop thanking me and said how much she valued and cherished the support she was getting from my family and friends from the States because of me.  She asked me numerous times why I was in Korea with her and not with my family.  I told her I was paying forward the love and support I’ve received and I wanted her to one-day too pay forward what she has received. But of course it’s more than just paying it forward.

IMG_0444It is not my human nature to just give out my love so freely. If I’m honest with you, there is no way with my own will I could love someone without expecting anything back in return.  It is truly only through God’s love and His grace that I am able to love her and let go of my self-centered needs.  My desire for Christmas was solely to open presents in my pajamas and enjoy a lazy day with my kids and my husband.  However, my heart transformed when I allowed my spirit to lead instead of my immediate desires.  It became abundantly clear that I should be with Hae-bin’s family during this tough time.  My heart began to be filled with over flowing desire to go to Korea.   My mindsets continued to get changed.  Instead of this trip being a sacrifice, I began to consider it a privilege to be the one to carry out this assignment from God.  I was so thankful to Him for choosing me.  I also realized it would be essential to have this experience in my life in order to make sense of my past sufferings and find healing through each process of loving others. My pain only makes sense to me when I can love those who are called outcasts by the world because I am also an outcast.

ellen koreaEvery time I take a tiny leap of faith, the reward ends up being so much bigger than I could ever dream of.  I’ve always had anxieties in traveling alone and fear of sleeping by myself.  It was crippling me from doing what I wanted to do. I don’t like to ask for help because of fear of rejection.  But I knew I really needed the extra prayer and support this time around to get over my anxieties.  It wasn’t easy.  It took a lot from me to let go of my ego to ask for help.  It was very frightening to say the least. I’m not going to sugar coat it, part of me was disappointed by the outcome.  Nevertheless, I now understand the world around me little better and it was a teachable moment for me.   I realize when I expose myself and put myself in a vulnerable situation, I will probably get disappointed because my expectations are too high.  However, my disappointment fizzled away when I shifted my focus to the people who were supporting me. I had my family, friends and (few people I’ve never met) who were cheering and praying for me.  Because of their love, support, and prayer, I found myself bold and confident and was assured that I was not alone.  This entire journey made me much braver and I am pretty certain that I am now over the fear of traveling alone.  When is the next trip? Bring it on!  I am forever thankful to my family and friends. I thought about each one of you who opened your heart and graciously made the donation to Haebin’s surgery.   It certainly was so much more than just that to me.  When I was missing my family exceptionally on Christmas, I was so thankful and appreciative of you.  Your names are forever tattooed in my heart.

It’s been two months since Haebin’s surgery but she is still in the hospital recovering.  Please continue to pray for her and her mom and send your positive energy to her.

Comments (1)

  • Hanju

    March 4, 20153:48 pm


    Wow…this is a beautiful story of love, faith and sacrifice. This is how you change the world, one life at a time. Your tiny leap of faith was a giant one. We will be praying for Haebin’s recovery. Thanks for sharing your story.

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