Our family was saddened yesterday to learn of the death, a few days ago, of a wonderful man who played a huge part in making us the family we are.
Dr Kim Duk Whang retired at the age of 60 from his position in the Ministry of Health and Welfare in South Korea. In his job, he had seen a great need for someone to care for the thousands of children left abandoned each year. So in 1972, he founded the Eastern Social Welfare Society, dedicated to finding families for children like those. Though he would have liked for all the children to be adopted within Korea, social attitudes at the time made it impossible. He looked overseas for families like ours. Many thousands of children over the years found families overseas in places like Australia and the US. Many of them returned to their homeland later to learn about their roots, all with the help of programmes set up by ESWS. Only now is domestic adoption becoming acceptable in Korea and that very much through the efforts of Dr Kim and ESWS.
Under Dr Kim’s direction, ESWS expanded to help not only homeless children, but those with disabilities, single mothers, the poor and the elderly. Dr Kim was also an Elder in his church and worked tirelessly to do what he believed to be God’s will. He retired from his position as head of ESWS only two years ago at the age of 94! There was barely a day he hadn’t come into the office to work.
We met Dr Kim twice, first when we picked up Dynamo and again when we picked up Sausage. His gentleness and caring shone through his grandfatherly face. Every child, every life, to him was a gift and he prayed and shed tears for every one that had to leave Korea. I can well imagine St Peter rolled out the red carpet when he arrived in heaven, for he was without doubt a saintly man. But I suspect Dr Kim would have walked beside it, for he was also a very humble man and would not realise it was for him.
Rest in Peace, Dr Kim and thank you.