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Kara Pauly



Kara Kim Marie Pauly was born Kwan Ok Kim in Seoul, South Korea, in 1975. She was adopted by an American family and moved to Minnesota in 1976.




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This is my mother, Kara Kim Marie Pauly. But before she was known as Kara, my mother had another name: Kwan Ok Kim. Kwan Ok was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to America before she was even a year old, yet she had brought with her an incredible story. My mother’s story begins when she was found abandoned on a street in Seoul, rescued by a passerby and admitted to Seoul Municipal Children’s Hospital on August the 7th, 1975. Found in the cold of the night and very ill, she was not expected to survive. Her only possession was a sheet of paper on which her birthdate was written: the first of June, 1975. As Kwan Ok was slowly nursed back to health in the hospital, my grandparents, Myron and Deborah Pauly, came into contact with adoption agencies in Korea. Showing interest in adopting Kwan Ok, this picture was sent to my grandparents in America. Always being described as a very cute and a truly lovable baby, my grandparents had decided this was the new child they had wanted in their life. So they had begun the adoption process and kept in close contact with the adoption agencies in Korea. A series of letters were soon exchanged describing Kwan Ok's conditions, such as her health and her behaviors. While Kwan Ok's adoption process continued, she was placed in a foster home of three. In Korea, she had a foster mother, a high school-aged foster sister, and middle school-aged foster brother. The family was described as a kind family and took great care of Kwan Ok Kim. When she first entered the foster home, Kwan Ok only took 90 cc’s of milk due to her poor health but was soon taking over 200 cc’s of milk as her health returned under her foster mother’s care. Then, on January 21st, 1976, my mother left Korea to begin her new adventure in America. Arriving by plane in Minnesota and accompanied by a social worker, Kwan Ok had safely landed in America. With her, she had carried a small purse and a charm for luck, gifted to her by the adoption agencies in Korea. At the airport, Kwan Ok was happily welcomed by her new family: Myron, Deborah and Kris Pauly, and she would soon spend time meeting other members of her adopted family as well. A few years after her adoption, Kwan Ok, now Kara, became a citizen of the United States of America, marking the end of her journey from Korea to America and the start of a new life as Kara Kim Marie Pauly.