There are some of the kindest, most open people in Korea and an example is the president of Metro Hotel in Myungdong district. Before I arrived, my friends at Eastern Social Welfare Society (the agency through which I was adopted) told me about an offer by Metro Hotel for a free week's stay for adoptees visiting Korea. Myungdong is a popular shopping district in central Seoul and close to most sights and attractions. Staying at a hotel there is normally very expensive. Opened in 1954 (and the first to be registered as a tourist hotel in Korean history!) Metro Hotel was renovated three years ago and the lobby and rooms reminded me of the W Hotel. If you're in Seoul, it's a great alternative to the chain establishments since their rates are quite reasonable.
Though I didn't get a chance to meet the president, I met with the sales representative in charge of this special program. When I asked how the president became interested in adoptees returning to Korea, she said he had seen a program on television and contacted Eastern to see how he could help. Change happens quickly in Korea and new buildings sprout up all the time. Advances in consumer technology happen at lightening speed compared to the U.S. and Koreans adapt very quickly. But like most societies, social change is much slower. When the first wave of Korean adoptees returned, many came back with stories of hardship about racism and loneliness. In addition, due to negative attention about international adoption of children during the 1988 Summer Olympics, there was collective shame in Korea. As adoptees returned, many hoping to find the acceptance they felt was missing in their adoptive countries, most realized that things were not so easy in Korea either. Due to the work of many adoptees and Koreans, changes have been made. Though more still needs to be done, the generosity of individuals like the president of Metro Hotel is a great representation of this change.
I would like to thank Metro Hotel and its president for their generosity and, more importantly, their interest in adoptees and adoptive families visiting Korea.