Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Korean Brangelina

In February, Actors Shin Ae-ra and Cha In-pyo, who fell in love on the set of the TV Drama “Love in Your Heart,” have adopted a second daughter , Ye-jin. She joins two siblings, adopted daughter Ye-eun, aged 2, and biological son Jeong-min, aged 10. The couple are enthusiastic supporters of Compassion, an international organization that assists needy children.

In a previous interview after adopting the first daughter, Ms. Shin shared that she had talked with her dying mother about adopting a daughter, and her mother gave her support. In the interview linked above, Ms. Shin talks about the reactions of family members to the second adoption, which she and her husband were already planning when they chose Ye-eun, whom they met while volunteering at an orphanage. Their son, who worried that his mom didn’t love him when she brought home Ye-eun, readily agreed to the second adoption. Mr. Cha’s mother expressed concerns about the burden of raising an additional child but did not oppose the couple’s wish.

In the interview, Ms. Shin also shared that she had an initial difficulty bonding with her new daughter. At home, Ms. Shin would sleep with the elder daughter while a nanny took care of the new baby. “She was like an ice princess,” admitted Ms. Shin. The infant rejected her mother for the more familiar embrace of her nanny. The problem resolved when Ye-eun was sent off the preschool, freeing up Mom to spend time with her new daughter.

Cynics might dismiss Shin and Cha’s adoptions as publicity stunts, but in interviews, Ms. Shin’s enthusiasm for being a mom and love of her children shine through. Their first daughter’s name, Ye-eun, means “Jesus’ blessing,” and their second daughter’s name, Ye-jin, means “Jesus’ truth.”

By sharing with the public their adoption experiences, Ms. Shin and Mr. Cha are clearly trying to inspire Koreans to open their minds and hearts and accept adopted children as real family members.

Written by Sonagi