|Yoon Sang-ae, on the screen, talks to her biological family during an online reunion, Friday, in Seoul, 44 years after she was adopted by an American family, Friday. Korea Times Photo by Choi Da-won|
Mom, adopted daughter reunited through video chat
By Kim Se-jeong
A 78-year-old woman was reunited with her 47-year-old daughter who went missing 44 years ago in Seoul, in an emotional video meeting on Friday that connected Korea and the U.S.
The daughter, Yoon Sang-ae, was adopted out to a family in the U.S. where she currently resides. Her English name is Denise McCarty. The video reunion was organized by the Korean National Police Agency (NPA).
The reunion was possible thanks to a new government service, starting January this year, which took Yoon's DNA sample from the U.S. and sent it to the NPA for a match. The National Forensic Service (NFS) confirmed their biological relation. The mother's DNA sample was collected in 2017.
"My darling daughter! I hope to meet you (face-to-face) soon! I am so happy to see you again! My dream has finally come true," the mother, Lee Eung-sun, said with tearful eyes. Yoon's older brother and twin sister were also at the video conference which was selected as the means of communication for the reunion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The daughter went missing in June 1976 at Namdaemun Market in Seoul while she was out with her grandmother. Despite tireless efforts by the family, the search for the missing child remained unsuccessful.
"We opened businesses near where we lost you. I looked carefully at every child that passed my shop. I never forgot you," the mother said, adding that she had a clothing shop and the son had a lottery ticket shop.
Speaking through an interpreter, the daughter said in English that the only information she had was that she had been abandoned at a hospital in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, and that she was sent to the U.S. for adoption through an adoption agency, Holt Children's Services.
"We never imagined you'd have traveled so far down to Suwon. We only looked for you in Seoul. We never abandoned you," the mother said through tears.
Overwhelmed with joy, the daughter expressed her desire to meet her biological family in person soon and to have a family dinner together.
"Chicken, pizza, bulgogi or bibimbap! You name it and I will cook whatever you would like to eat," the mother promised.
It is as yet unclear how Yoon arrived in Suwon as a young girl after becoming separated from her family. Unlike Yoon, many adopted children who search for their biological parents or other relatives are never reunited for a variety of reasons.