A New Chapter in Life

Aaron R. Niggli

College Student, Highland, Illinoi

2012 Chodae Community Church Scholarship Recipient

As I glance to see the door knob turn, my heart stops as I lock eyes with an unfamiliar face. For twenty-one years I have lived a happy life in America and was raised with loving adoptive parents. Blossoming through my younger years I was never teased or picked on because of my nationality, but did stand out from others. Why was I the only kid that stood out from others? Was this where I truly belong? Both of these questions seemed to puzzle me until I found an answer in South Korea.

Pondering on the plane to Korea, the feeling of being anxious yet scared overwhelms me. Little did I know this unfamiliar country that I was entering was something that would open my eyes to many new things. As we toured around many parts of South Korea I couldn't stop thinking about the countdown till the moment I meet my birth mother. Before I knew it, the day had come to finally meet my birth mother.

Is she going to show up? Will she recognize me? Is she going to like me? All of these questions and many more racing through my head as the clock ticks away. I was waiting patiently in my hotel room with Libby, my sister, and Ellen, a social worker. All three of us were silent as we didn't know what was about to happen next. A sudden knock at the door startles everyone as I stand up and say, "Come in:' My breath is taken away as I lock eyes with this stranger that I had never seen before. A sudden discomfort, yet heartwarming feeling fills my body as I reach in for the first hug. Without a doubt I could sense that this woman was in fact my long lost mother.

Minutes seemed to fly by as we laughed and talked about a few of the major things happening in both of our lives. I had given my mom some pictures from my senior year of High-School and watched her eyes become watery with joy. Suddenly, she pulled out a blank envelope from her purse and told me to open it. Without hesitating, I peeled open the envelope and inside was a returning letter from my original I had sent to her about who I was. As Mrs. Joe, the translator, began to read the deeply thought letter, my eyes could not fight the urge to burst with tears. Never in my life did I think someone could write such a sincere letter to me and make my body cringe with love.

Six hours of being with my mom raced by as it appeared to be a mere six minutes. No amount of time will ever compensate for the twenty-one years that we've been apart. To this day, I and my mom have kept a steady relationship through text message and I am learning more about Korea each day. Also I have a biological sister which I have recently started a whole new chapter in my life with her.

To close, the trip that I had adventured on was more than anything I could possibly ask for. Being a part of the 2012 Sejong Trip to Korea wasn't just about visiting South Korea and learning the culture and lifestyle. Sejong consisted of more than that, it showed me not only a place where I belong but showed me who really am.

<From a part of his essay for 2012 Chodae Community Church Scholarship>

"When the idea of a trip to Korea was brought to my attention only one thing came to mind: a once in a life time opportunity. Growing up through my twenty years in America, my family has always asked me: if I had the chance to visit Korea, would I take it? My answer every time was, only if I am ready.

After I learned more in depth about this amazing trip to Korea, I noticed that the itinerary was packed with fun events even including a chance to see my birth parents. Contemplating on the thought of seeing my birth parents for the first time is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I think my curiosity is overpowering to see what my birth parents look like, what would they think of me, if I have any other brothers or sisters or both, etc. My questions begin to pile up on top of each other and I feel that an opportunity to meet my birth parents would unlock doors to a whole new world for me.