I was born in Korea. At the age of six, I was alone, separated from my family. I was lost at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, and picked up by a stranger and placed into an orphanage. At the orphanage, everyone had to work to live...you had to have some kind of duties or responsibilities to keep you there, or else you would go back out to the streets. At the age of 7, my duty was to make breakfast for all the children in the orphanage. I had to keep my clothes clean. I was issued two sets of clothing, one to wear and one as the spare when the first set was getting washed. Each and every night I prayed that my family would find me and take me back home, but that never happened.
Jin Stearns, Owner
AAt age 10, I found out that I had been adopted and was going to America...the Land of Opportunity. I was so excited that I cried for days, because it had finally happened: I was getting a family. I could only hope that it was not just a dream. When I saw the letters and pictures of my new family, I cried again. I could not believe that this was really happening to me.
At the time, before I came to America, I spoke no English and had zero reading ability, not even the basic alphabet. What was even more difficult was that my new family could not speak or write Korean. We had no way to communicate.I could not talk to my parents about my frustrations, fears and concerns, and the many questions I wanted to ask, I could not. I began to wonder if this was the right place for me. I began to question that maybe my previous life wasn't so bad after all...at least back at the orphanage I was somebody with purpose, and had responsibilities.
It was then that I knew I must become someone with a purpose here in America, too, and become familiar and comfortable--and successful-- in the new life around me.