Thursday, March 27, 2014

One of Many

When we visited the Suwon Clover House,  we were introduced to this lovely girl:

That day was a pretty big day for her. She was 'signing out' of the unwed Mother's Shelter. Her boyfriend was waiting for her, and together, they would be starting a new chapter of life as Umma & Appa. She was beautiful. She was kind. And she was so incredibly sweet. I saw another Mom cry as they said good-bye, and I couldn't help but wonder if their paths would ever cross again.

Something else that made this girl seem extra special, is that she had this strong and positive spirit, which I guess shouldn't be a surprise, as she was also a North Korean refugee. To make it through a journey like that, you have to be a fighter. I heard that she had gone through China and maybe Thailand, although her exact route, I can't be sure. Her life ... I just can't even begin to imagine what she has seen and experienced. And now, with a new baby in tow, she was ready to take on the world. She was happy and smiled often and was the first to volunteer to have her pictures done, and she was the first to give us permission to share them.

Kim has some INCREDIBLE images of her baby, which we will be posting in the next couple of days. So until then, I thought I'd give a little sneak peek to see what many of you have played a part in, by supporting our trip.

And to this Mother, I pray that your life will be filled with blessings. And I thank you for sharing your story with us.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Today we had the amazing opportunity to visit the Suwon Clover House. Now let me preface this by saying that when ever you take on a new endeavor, there's bound to be some sort of learning curve, right? So on our way there, we learned that the Suwon Unwed Mother's Shelter AND the Suwon Clover House are under one roof. The residents are mixed together. So that means instead of meeting 5 women and their children, there were actually 20 women and 9 babies waiting for us to arrive.

We had a little chat with the Director and discovered some other ways to help, so more information will be coming on that later. We also took part of the cash donation we had for Clover House, and bought fruit and Korean Fried Chicken for the residents. Lets just say, it was a total hit. In fact, one Mom saw the Fried Chicken and then turned to Kim and said, 'I LOVE YOU!!!' We all had a good chuckle over that.

I can't remember how many women we did hair/make-up for, but it was definitely under the 20 that I was nervously preparing for in my mind. Kim did a FABULOUS job photographing the babies, but out of respect for the residents, we will only be sharing the images from 2 of the Moms (who gave us their permission). Those photos will be coming once we return home and can edit everything.

We ended up staying much longer than originally anticipated, but it was an amazing experience that I'm so grateful for.

So with that, I'll be signing off. I'm so incredibly tired as I think I haven't quite kicked the jet lag curb, but I know by morning I'll be ready to go again.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported The Clover House Project this far. ALL of your efforts have been SO appreciated and I can't wait to move forward and see what we can accomplish!

*** just wanted to make a note that we took the 5 bags to the Director who will be dispensing the items to the women. Since there were 5 bags and 20 residents, we felt it was best to do it that way, vs trying to single out only certain girls who lived there. But know that when the Director and some of her staff saw what was in the bags, they completely freaked out. LOL ***

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's Here

So the time has finally come. We're headed to Korea. This day seemed so far off, and now its literally just a few hours away. I've spent the past few days trying to get stuff done and I am SO excited to say that I've actually finished packing. Kind of. I mean - all of my clothes are packed, donations are packed ... I just have some toiletries, my computer/photography stuff and then pack for my kids as they'll be spending the next few days with my parents as my husband has to work.

This is by far, the earliest I've ever been 'ready'. Usually I'm up until 2 or 3a trying to figure out what I need, or what doesn't fit.

I have a feeling that on that 12+ hour flight tomorrow, I'll spend more time reflecting on what the next 7 days will have in store for us. I received my itinerary and its making it all seem much more real. Oh, there was also a notation that the women of Clover House were VERY excited about the 'Beauty Portraits' that I'll be taking. I literally squealed when I read that and I'm pretty sure I did a couple of fist pumps too. I think it just goes to show that everyone likes to feel beautiful every now and then. And I think that's fabulous.

Well, I should go finish up those last few things, and then spend some time with the kiddos before they're off to bed.

I'll be updating the Blog while I'm in Korea and I'll post photos on FB too. I'll also be posting photos to my Instagram account. If you'd like to follow along, you can follow me @becomingajumma .

Also, Kim - my traveling buddy - will be blogging HERE and you can follow her on Instagram @bibimkim.

Goodnight - and I'll see you in Korea!

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Fundraising Opportunities

We have two new ways to support The Clover House Project that were just launched this week!

For those in Northern California (greater Sacramento area) - check out:

Indulge Beauty Studio - Mini Portrait Sessions

And those in San Antonio, Texas - check out:

Kim Park Photography - Eastern Mini Sessions

Thanks for you support!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Beginning

Back in May of 2013, I was asked to be an Assistant Leader for a Motherland Tour to South Korea. It was an incredible experience and I loved every minute of it. One of the 'stops' on the Tour was in the city of Suwon. It was there that we visited an Un-Wed Mothers Shelter and we had the privilege of meeting these incredible women. This particular Shelter held extra meaning to me, as the birth mother of one of my sons had lived there. The facility was older, but it was clean and they went out of their way to provide us with little treats as we all tried our best to answer each others questions through a single translator. 

Tears were shed from both sides and for many different reasons.

My heart hurt that day for those women. Their self esteem is so low. They don't realize how valued they are. Not just because of who they represent to an Adoptee or an Adoptive Parent, but because the ones who decide to parent (which is actually the majority of them) they are the ones who are helping to change the cultural stigmas in their country. It's an amazing, but daunting role - and for that, they have nothing but the greatest respect from me.

From that experience, I knew that I wanted to support Un-Wed Mothers, but it was finding the right avenue. As a Photographer that specializes in Beauty Portraits, I began to daydream about taking their photos. I wanted to give them something tangible to remind them that they are beautiful. No matter what life had throw at them, no matter how they felt about themselves due to their circumstances, I wanted them to be able to look a portrait of themselves and think 'This person is beautiful. She is strong. She can do this.'

In October of 2013 I traveled to Korea with my husband, three kids, and my Parents. We had this trip planned for months and it would be the first time my parents would experience the country of my birth. It was so incredible to watch them take in the sights and sounds, and we also had the amazing fortune of being able to see the place where my sister and I were found, almost 38 years ago.

But it was during that trip that I was introduced to Clover House. I had mentioned to a friend that I was looking for a way to support Un-Wed Mothers and Clover House was suggested. When I found out about the work they do, and the support they provide for Single Mothers, I just knew I had found the right fit for me.

I was able to briefly meet with the Director of Clover House and I asked her what their current needs were. She mentioned that they would appreciate extra funds so they could give the children of Clover House Tols on their First Birthday. Many Adoptive Parents are aware of the cultural significance of the Tol - as we cherish the photos we received of our own children's Tols. I immediately jumped on this, as I knew this would be something that the Adoption Community would embrace. And that is how The Clover House Project was born.

But there is SOOO much work that needs to be done to get this fully launched. It was my initial plan to hold off on publicizing The Clover House Project until I could get everything completed, but on Facebook I noticed that there were several Adoptive Parents who were looking for ways to support Un-Wed Mothers, so I decided to go ahead and launch, and hope that everyone can see my 'vision' for what The Clover House Project is, and what it can become.

So I am headed back to Korea in March, with a small team of people I had put together. While there, we we will be meeting with the Director of Clover House to discuss some final details, and we will also be photographing various locations throughout Seoul that will be turned into products that The Clover House Project will sell - with proceeds going directly to Clover House (think Coffee Table books, note cards, etc).  My original plan was to do all of the shooting during my trip in October, but I quickly found that with 3 kids in tow, you can't take any photos or set up any shots.

And lastly - and what I'm MOST excited about, is that we will have the opportunity to photograph the women of Clover House and their children. Not only that, but we will also be photographing women at the Un-Wed Mothers Shelter. I can't believe that what was once a 'dream' will now be a reality!

If you are interested in making a donation, please contact me at . Any donation of $25 or more will receive a set of our Note Cards that we will be creating. I'm currently looking into various options for taking donations when The Clover House Project goes into full effect, and when I find one that is the most beneficial, I will post more details.

If you have any questions regarding expenses, donations, or the work we will be doing, please do not hesitate to email me at

We thank you for all your support!