We Are Family

By Kate Hassett

We Are Family
Siblings separated in South Korea in the 1970's are reunited after 40 years in a beautiful tale of serendipity.

When Pok-nam was 5, she awoke one night to witness her step-mother and half sister leaving under the cover of darkness. Her father, an alcoholic who ran a grocery store, was none the wiser and Pok-nam’s sister and mother were never seen again.

Later, Pok-nam was taken out of school and asked to identify her father’s body, as he had wandered into the path of a speeding train. Following her horrific discovery, she took off, landing her on site of a local orphanage, where she was settled before eventually becoming adopted in 1978 at age 9.

Pok-nam was taken to settle in America where she spent her life surrounded by a nurturing family until the memories of her past life came back to haunt her.

One night she woke from a nightmare “I said my daddy died, I have a sister, we need to find her,” Pok-nam, now Holly O’Brian, told the Herald Tribune

When Holly’s mother tried to help her by contacting Holly’s orphanage, they said they had no record of a biological sister. Decades later, the same search turned up identical results.

“But in my heart, I knew,” Holly, 46, recalls. “I knew she was out there somewhere.”

Eun-Sook Shin, now Meagan Hughes, recalls being sent to a Korean orphanage, where she was adopted by an American family in 1976 and taken to Kingston, N.Y, just under 500km from Alexandria, where Pok-nam grew up.

Fast forward four decades to March 2015.

Hughes began working as a physical therapy assistant at the Doctors Hospital in Sarasota, Florida. Only two months before and unbeknownst to her, Holly had taken a job at the same hospital as a nursing assistant.

“One of the patients told me there was another nurse, named Meagan, who was from Korea. She said you should talk to her, maybe you’re from the same town,” O’Brien told the Herald-Tribune.

As the women became better acquainted they realised certain similarities that were beyond consequence.

After deciding to take a DNA test, the sisters realised their suspicions were correct, their match was positive.

“When I heard from Holly, my first reaction was like, ‘Oh my god.’ I was in shock, I was numb. I have a sister,” Hughes told the Herald-Tribune.




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