Bloomington woman reunites with South Korean birth parents, learns truth about her past

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A Bloomington woman found her birth parents in South Korea after being apart for 50 years.

Kim Gantt came to the U.S. in 1969 after being adopted by American parents. Her adoption papers said she was abandoned at an orphanage in South Korea. She just recently found out that was not true.

Her adoptive father encouraged her to go to South Korea last year to find some answers. She hopped on a flight in September and decided to take a DNA test at a police station in Seoul.

“I took it with a grain of salt and you know, it’s been 50 years,” she said. “I will probably have to wait another 50 years.”

To her surprise, she got an email from a police officer in South Korea saying two matches came back. They were her birth parents and both are still alive. Her mother and father have actually been searching for her since the 1960s when she disappeared at a market in South Korea. They did not abandon her at an orphanage.

“Knowing I was not given up was probably the most satisfying feeling,” Gantt said. “I was not alone. They wanted me.”

She flew back to South Korea in March to see her birth parents for the first time in 50 years. It was an emotional reunion. Her mother would not let her go.

“They are so apologetic for having lost me,” she said. “I am out of words to explain how this feels. It is amazing. It’s wonderful.”

She spent a week in South Korea with her family. Her adoptive mother, who passed away a few years ago, loved collecting butterflies. Gantt said during her trip to South Korea she learned she was born in a “butterfly town.”

“That was unreal,” she said.

She will be going back to South Korea in November to see her family. Gantt plans to bring her adoptive father and three children.

“I feel so happy, so loved,” she said.

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