National Adoption Month

This Man Unexpectedly Reunited With His Birth Mom And Grandma 25 Years After His Adoption

"The bigger the family, the better ... "

November is National Adoption Month. In honor of the month, we will be bringing attention to the thousands of people in foster care awaiting forever homes, as well as those who provide and advocate for them. These stories emphasize the idea that families are bound together by the love they share, rather than their biological roots.  

At 8 months old, Doug Walsh — aka Kwon Hyup Lee — was adopted by a New Jersey family of six. They provided, loved and supported the Korean-American man through his life, and in the video above, he tells A Plus he "couldn't have asked for more." 

"I was never alone," he says. 

Courtesy of Doug Walsh
Courtesy of Doug Walsh

When it came to talking about his birth family and adoption, he says the Walshes always explained the story extremely well and in a positive light. "They always kind of talked about my eomma [the Korean word for 'mom'] as a hero, sort of as a very unselfish person," he explains to A Plus. "[My parents would say,] 'She loved you so much, that she sent you here so you can have this food you're eating, so you can be warm at night.' That kind of thing." 

Though Walsh had not been actively seeking members of his birth family, an unexpected journey led him to them anyway. In the summer of 2008, he began dating a Korean woman he'd met in the States. When her six-month visa ran out, he decided to visit her in Korea where he randomly came across Holt Adoption agency —  the agency he had been adopted through.  

Courtesy of Doug Walsh
Courtesy of Doug Walsh

He knew it might be his only opportunity to learn more about his history, so he decided to ask people at the agency if they had any information about his family. He was told his birth mother had been visiting the agency for years in hopes of coming across Walsh. Now knowing there was a mutual desire to meet, Walsh — with the full support of his adoptive family — decided to reconnect with his birth mother and grandmother. 

"I grew up not even caring about reuniting with my oemma," says Walsh. "I didn't grow up thinking about it ... ever. It just happened by chance. I just happened to have had the opportunity, so I took it. And I am truly blessed now to extend the family to a further degree."

Courtesy of Doug Walsh
Courtesy of Doug Walsh

"The bigger the family, the better, is the way I see it," he says. " ... Life has definitely been on the up since that happened as far as the quality of things happening, it's always been a positive direction. Good lives take a lot of maintenance. You have to maintain to make your life better, and you need other people to help you make your life better, and once they make your life better, it's sort of like an unspoken contract, that that is the nature of the relationship of helping one another. And it feels good, too. It's very fulfilling." 

Watch the video above to learn more about Walsh's story.

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