By Virginia Zuck, Times-Union Feature Writer
Two little Korean orphans whose mixed blood marked them for ostracism and probable starvation in their native land, have found a haven of love and security in the Warsaw community.
One is Sandra Lin, a two-year-old charmer with velvety brown eyes, adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Alvon Abbott, 1704 East Smith street. The other is 14-week-old Michael Kimm, adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bryant who live on Woodlawn drive in the Phillips Addition west of Warsaw. Michael has big, almost black eyes and an engaging grin.
Sandra and Michael were legally adopted before they left Korea. They had, however, been prayerfully chosen for their particular families by Paul and Florence Haines, friends of the Abbotts and Bryants. Rev. and Mrs. Haines in Seoul, Korea, are missionaries serving under the Oriental Missionary Society. The adoption was expedited by Larry Burr, Winona Lake, director of the O.M.S. Men for Missions.
They're Holt Babies
Actually the two youngsters will always be proudly referred to as "Holt babies" meaning that they were adopted through and flown to the state by Harry Holt Foundation, Harry Holt is a Cresswell, Ore., farmer. He and his wife had worked hard and already reared a sizable family, but when they learned about the pitiful plight of the Korean-American orphans they adopted a couple, then another, finally stopped at eight. Still not content, they interested other foster parents, roused public opinion and even stormed Congress to get immigration restrictions eased.
The Harry Holt Foundation rescues mixed blood children, fathered by American servicemen. Because of their mixed blood they face a bitter future in Korea. So do their mothers as long as they keep the babies. Some struggle desperately for awhile, only to surrender to the cruelty that threatens their very existence. Sandra's mother, for instance, put black dye on her baby's hair to disguise its natural fairness. The Holt Foundation has found American homes for more that 700 of these children.
Hilda Moves Office
When the Bryants and Abbotts were notified their babies would soon be flying across the Pacific, a happy bustle began in both households. Hilda Bryant, who is assistant editor of the Free Methodist publication "Youth In Action" transferred her office from Winona to the spare bedroom in her lovely new home. She and Bob shopped for baby clothes and equipment, studying up on formula making.
Grace Abbott and her husband Alvon, who is plant superintendent at Murphy Medical Center, were just as busy getting ready for the little girl who would round out their family. Steve Abbott, going on 12 and in the sixth grade, was a cooperative big brother in these preparations.
Hilda and Grace flew from Chicago to Portland, Ore. While crossing the Cascade mountains one of the plane's four engines conked out and they limped into the Tacoma-Seattle airport to find fire engines and ambulances standing by in case of a disaster. They made a smooth landing, changed planes and sped on to Portland.
There at the airport they watched the Korean plane taxi in, every window filled with small Oriental faces. Outside the enclosure, pressing against the fence, was a crowd of spectators and the excited adopting parents, carrying baby blankets over their arms.
The 89 children were not taken off for nearly three hours because they had to go through customs right there in the plane. Each baby was fed and dressed attractive before being handed over to his new family. Incidentally, Harry Halt himself made bottle formula for 50 babies and delivered it to the plane. His daughter, Molly, was one of the nurses accompanying the children from Korea.
As Hilda and Grace waited with all the patience they could muster they met several families who already had one Korean-American child and had asked for another.
It was Harry Holt who handed Michael Kimm over to Hilda. The baby wore a plastic bracelet bearing his new name and address but Hilda declares she'd have known him by his huge beautiful eyes which the passport picture hadn't really done justice to.
Mike stopped crying when Hilda took him. He stared at her with decided interest, gnawing on the first finger of his left hand (a practice he still favors). Molly Holt detained Hilda a moment to urge her to find a pediatrician immediately because Michael still had traces of diarrhea.
In the happy confusion, Hilda couldn't help marveling at the sweetness of her son. They were scarcely acquainted though when he had to be hospitalized next day. Exhausted and seriously dehydrated because of diarrhea, Michael also had congestion in his chest. As a Holt baby he was quite a sensation with hospital staff members who were impressed by Hilda's long journey from Indiana, "way back east".
With Michael apparently on the road to recovery, Hilda and he boarded the pane. At the Seattle stopover she was amazed to find a host of friends waiting with gifts for her and the baby. In the next 30 minutes Michael performed like a pro and captivated his audience.
Meeting them in Chicago, Bob Bryant found his son pretty wonderful, but admitted he was afraid to hold him. Michael was home just one day when he broke out in spots and the diarrhea returned. He was taken to a Fort Wayne hospital. The spots turned out to be old fashioned chicken pox, not some foreign disease.
Michael has come through his troubles very cheerfully. Not long ago he was left on the doorstep of an orphanage in Korea, a carefully wrapped bundle with his name, Chung Chul Soo, and birth date, Jan. 2, 1958, on a bit of paper pinned to his clothing. Today he's a jolly baby who holds his head up straight and likes to listen to his mother's typewriter as she carries on her editorial duties in a schedule entirely flexible to his needs.
Since Bob Bryant is a printer at the Free Methodist Publishing House, it's easy for him to be the liaison between the main office and Hilda's at home.
Things are very lively in the Abbott household where bright little Sandra rules like a beguiling princess. She has a magic smile that goes straight to the heart. It's obvious, from her dainty manners and good health, that she has always been well cared for. (Sandra was with her Korean mother until Feb. 25.) It's obvious also that she is used to being the center of attention.
Grace Abbott, who wanted a little girl so long, declares that Sandra's brown eyes can express anything from "I love you" to "You shouldn't have done that!" One day, however, when gestures and nods didn't get the message through, Sandra let loose with an exasperated tongue lashing. Since it was all in Korean, Grace decided to dispense with mouth washing.
Sandra hasn't lost her Oriental finesse or her memory of the tea ritual. She enjoys having her family around her while she presides at a miniature tea table. The second night in her new home she backed up to Alvon holding a doll and one of Steve's shirts. It took a few minutes to figure out that she wanted her baby tied to her back. That done, she went on her motherly way, swaying back and forth, crooning a lullaby in Korean.
Very feminine, she loves to dress up and have her hair fixed. She likes to use cosmetics on herself and her dolls--sprays, lotions, colognes--it doesn't matter what.
At meals she eats very well, especially meat. Ice cream and soft drinks are new. Neither chocolate nor cake have much appeal but she likes to munch cookies and crackers. Fish, noodles, fruit and eggs are favorite foods.
One would guess she has musical talent as she sings a great deal, starts keeping time to military or dance music the moment it begins. If she happens to see ballet on television she can imitate the graceful dancers quite well.
Sandra adores her big brother Steve whom she calls "Spee." While she is learning English her family has picked up some Korean from her. They know now that idiwa means come here or come on, aboja means water or milk to drink and mamoga, to eat. At first she called Alvon and Grace Aboji and Amoni (father and mother) but after the first week that changed to Daddy and Mama.
Bob Bryant, who served in Korea, was helpful in interpreting for the Abbotts at first. That's no longer necessary. Love has given Sandra and her family almost perfect understanding.
Back to YesterYear in Print