Family with adoptees celebrates their Korean heritage

NEIGHBORS

November 23, 1999|By Sherry Graham | Sherry Graham,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NOVEMBER IS National Adoption Awareness Month. One Eldersburg family is very aware of the joys of adoption and is enthusiastically celebrating the event.

Dennis and Peggy Scherr are the parents of three adopted children, Amy, Laura and Brian, who were born in Korea. Peggy and the children spent last weekend in New York City attending a celebratory church service in St. Patrick's Cathedral and visiting with other families who have adopted internationally.

The Scherr family had the opportunity to travel to Korea in July as participants in a Homeland Tour sponsored by the Mugungwha Foundation. The philanthropic organization endeavors to help Korean- American adoptees learn more about Korean tradition and culture.

The Scherrs spent 12 days touring the Korean countryside, visiting Buddhist temples, a seaport, a college campus and tourist sites in Seoul. They also had the opportunity to visit the birth city of each child -- Sewon City, Seoul and Inchon, respectively.

"I wanted to see what my home country looked like, and I wanted to experience the culture," said Amy, a senior at Liberty High School. "I was curious about Korea."

During their time in Korea, the Scherrs visited orphanages and met with foster parents who cared for the children before they came to America. They were also able to learn a little more about their birth parents.

"It was good for us to go to the orphanage and see the kids there," Amy said. "I really appreciate what I have here. As a person, I've grown from this trip."

As the eldest adoptee in the tour group of 50, Amy had the privilege of giving a short address during a reception with the first lady of Korea, Lee Ho Hee, wife of President Kim Dae Jung.

Amy wore a traditional Korean dress called a hanbok for the occasion. She said she was very nervous before giving her speech, but made it through without any problems. Other members of the group performed traditional Korean drumming.

Many times during their Korean visit, Peggy reflected on the joys she and Dennis have experienced raising their adopted children. She is grateful to the birth mothers.

"When you adopt internationally, it's something very special indeed," she said. "I think my children really understand who they are from this trip."

Amy, Laura, a sophomore at Liberty High, and Brian, a sixth-grader at Oklahoma Road Middle School, plan to continue learning about their Korean heritage when they attend a summer camp for Korean adoptees and through cultural events such as the New York weekend and a Korean Adoptee Conference in Los Angeles.

Playground dedication

The "Cardinal Field of Dreams," the new playground at Carrolltowne Elementary School, will be dedicated at 9: 45 a.m. tomorrow at the school.

The PTA, students and their families have worked for the past 18 months to make the playground a reality by raising more than $31,000 through several events. The school also received a state grant of $20,000.

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has been invited to attend the dedication, which will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony and presentation of the colors by selected students, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the national anthem. The Carrolltowne cheerleaders will also be on hand.

Holiday bazaar

Messiah Lutheran Church will sponsor its holiday bazaar, Twelve Days of Christmas, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 4 in the church hall, 5600 Old Washington Road in Sykesville.

Christmas crafts and gifts, gift baskets, candles, jewelry, handmade dolls, decorated sweat shirts, homemade candies, and baked goods will be available.

Breakfast and lunch will be offered.

Information: 410-795-9174.

Sherry Graham's Southeast neighbor column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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