Two Former NK Refugees Now Happily Wed

By Midori Yotsuya, LFNKR Member

It was Aug. 30, just after the 4th General Meeting in Seoul of IPCNKR (International Parliamentarians’ Coalition for North Korean Refugees and Human Rights). We headed to a small hotel to meet some of the foster children that LFNKR had formerly supported under our education sponsorship plan. They had all lived together like a family for several years at the same LFNKR shelter in China after fleeing from North Korea. Some of them are now young adults in their early twenties.

We had received an announcement of the marriage of Y.E., one of our former foster children who has now grown into a lovely young lady of 22. Her fiance is also a former refugee from North Korea who managed to escape alone. Y.E. had promised to introduce us to him.

When we reached the hotel lobby, it was only 5:30. We were half an hour early. I was pleasantly surprised and excited to find another of our young ladies, J.G., already waiting in the lobby. The last time we had seen each other was in November of 2006 when we went to Gyeongju together.

We hugged and quickly began catching up on each other’s news. She is now a freshman in college where she is studying to be a kindergarten teacher. She has also become pretty good with English, having learned it while studying in Manila for 6 months. She says that she enjoys her child psychology class the most.

A bit later, S.H. Joined us. He has always been the “big brother” of the kids. He is currently going to a school for dental technicians. He always impresses us with his courteous manners and bright energy. His lively eyes were flashing brighter than usual as he talked, giving evidence of his productive, happy days.

Then, Y.E. came in on the arm of her young, slim fiance.

Y.E.’s fiance is so handsome he could easily be a Korean movie star. Both his parents had already died when he escaped alone from North Korea. He has not yet succeeded in contacting his brothers still living in North Korea.

He met Y.E. at Hanawon. Through the interpreter, I said to him, “Y.E. is a very brilliant, down-to-earth lady. Please take good care of her.” I had known Y.E. since she was a child in one of our shelters, and had spent a week with her during her visit to Japan last year. She truly is a wise and sweet-natured young lady.

Then Y.S. arrived. He is now studying at the Chinese language dept. of Chung-Ang University in Seoul. Seeing his contemporary haircut, Mr. Kato commented, “Cool. You look like a rock’n roller.” Y.S. was once small and frail-looking, but now he has filled out and grown taller. He is enjoying life in the student dormitory.

After all “our children” had arrived, we moved to a more upscale restaurant because we planned to make this wedding celebration dinner special. Once at the restaurant, we caught up on the children’s stories – their new daily lives, universities, colleges and hobbies.

Y.E. told us that the wedding ceremony would be on September 8 in Pusan. “Why Pusan?” I asked. She answered that “C.S., who was a member of our shelter family back in China, asked her high school’s minister teacher if he would perform the marriage ceremony for us. C.S. is currently studying in Pusan at a high school with a dormitory run by a Christian church.

I am sure that our former foster children still face many challenges as they adapt themselves to the completely different environment in South Korea. They continue to grow daily through strong determination to build their future through their own efforts, and they are obviously helping each other, just as any family would.

Seeing them like this, I was overcome with sheer happiness and joy. I love them from the bottom of my heart.

Every single day I pray for the happiness of all our children, including those who were not able to come and see us that day.