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Updated on July 7, 2012


Born into a rich royal family, the young baby was her fathers favorite child out of 3 children. She would sleep in her father's arms every night listening to his heart beat. One cold winters day her father went to sleep after work as he normally did, he grabbed the baby named Soonyea and went to sleep. The next morning Soonyea at age 5 awaken looking at her father as she normally did every morning but this morning as different, he did not wake up and kiss her on the forehead as always. She touched her father and he was stone cold. He died that night from pneumonia. She laid there in his arms until the family came and took his body away. As she was left there crying for her daddy, she didn't know that her new life was about to begin.

The house was silent and cold all the other children were playing outside and Soonyea was left in her fathers room to sleep off her tears. After 2 weeks of being without her father in her life, her mother Sheecha started to date other men. Her mother didn't want to look at Soonyea or even know who she was, so she gave her away to an older lady that needed help with her farm. Even though Soonyea was five years old she knew how to work in the garden and she knew how to clean house. She was a slave to the old lady. She had to feed the pigs, take out the garbage, feed the silk worms, and tend to the rice field for the old lady. Soonyea had to harvest the bounty and sell it at the market to make money for the old lady Ms Chung.

As the years went by Soonyea did not know what the love of a mother was, all she remembered was how her father loved her, she missed him so much. Soonyea was told to eat the scraps from the pigs and that she could not eat any of the fresh rice that she would fix for the old lady everyday. One evening Soonyea left to do her chores, she came back to cook the rice as she normally did, she wanted so bad to take one bite of the rice, she thought she wouldn't know, it's just one bite, it smelled so good to her she couldn't help it. So Soonyea did what she was thinking and took one big heaping spoon and put it in her mouth and as her eyes rolled back and she took a sigh tasting every bit of fresh rice on her tongue, she could not take a moment to savor the flavor she had to hurry and chew before Ms Chung saw her. It was too late, Ms Chung saw Soonyea with a big glob of rice in her cheek and before she could swallow it Ms. Chung grabbed a big large metal pipe and hit her in the head 2 times and threw Soonyea out in the rain and left her there to die.

Soonyea was left out in the rain for three days with no food or water. Since there were monsoons that are normal for this time of year, she could have drowned. She was so hungry Soonyea began eating the mud outside of the house to stay alive but she found that she could not go to the bathroom because the mud stopped her up. She would cry and cry until one day she passed out. A neighbor Ms. Sue saw the pale little girl laying on the ground with just her shirt and shoes on, Ms. Sue ran over and grabbed Soonyea and took her to an old medicine woman. Ms Kungchi looked at the pale little one and started to touch her stomach, it was hard as a rock. Ms. Kungchi asked Ms. Sue to go and she will take care of the little one. Ms. Kungchi made a strong tea and fed it to Soonyea drop by drop and massaged her belly. Everyday the little girl would get better and the red clay would come out of her body. Ms. Kungchi would massage her belly and sing a song. Soonyea was getting better everyday. Ms. Kungchi thought how in the world could someone treat such a beautiful child in such a harsh manner, she went throughout the neighborhood trying to find out what happened and she ran into Ms. Chung. Ms. Kungchi asked Ms. Chung "Is the little girl that was found here half dead your daughter?" Ms. Chung said "No, she is a slave girl I bought from a lady in the providence of Binni. Ms. Kungchi said "How dare you treat her as though she is one of your animals." Ms. Chung said "You cannot speak to me in that way I am royalty and she deserves to be treated as she is a slave."

Ms. Kungchi told Ms. Chung I am keeping the girl and you cannot have her back. But it was worst than that, Ms. Chung went to Soonyea's mother and told her that Ms. Kungchi stole the child from her and she won't return her. Soonyea's mother was outraged because Ms. Chung told her that she will stop paying her the money for the child if she doesn't get her back. Soonyea's mother went to Ms. Kungchi acting as if she was concerned, Ms. Kungchi was not aware that it was Soonyea's mother who sold her to Ms. Chung, she gave Soonyea back to her mother. Soonyea's mother then took her back to Ms. Chung and the three day beating started.

As Soonyea grew older, Ms. Chung was beginning to become fearful of her, she thought that surely the child will start to hurt her after all the pain she caused her. But that was the far from Soonyea's mind, she just wanted to be free to live. One day a good looking man approached Ms. Chung and asked to speak to her, and Ms. Chung was delighted so she had Soonyea prepare a meal for the visitor Mr. Lee. That night when Mr. Lee came over he told Ms. Chung that he had a business deal for her. At this time Soonyea was fifteen and beautiful, but very plain and because she had to quit school due to her work, she was smarter than he knew. As Mr. Lee was speaking Ms. Chung started to become upset so she asked him to politely leave. Mr. Lee was asking for Soonyea's hand in marriage. Ms. Chung said "No, because she is my slave and I need her here, not having a husband to take care of." Mr. Lee politely left that day but he would come back to talk to Soonyea when she was in the rice patty. Soonyea smelled freedom when Mr. Lee asked her to get married and run away with him.

As the days gone by Soonyea was creating a plan to run away and marry Mr. Lee and finally be free but she failed to realize that she was jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. She was actually marrying him to be a slave to someone and not to have love. She didn't know what love truly was except the love her father. Soonyea told Ms. Chung she was going fishing like she always did every Wednesday but this time she was not coming back. Soonyea grabbed her things and walked toward the oceans edge there she saw Mr. Lee waiting on his boat for her. She jumped onto his boat and there they were married by a local priest. When they arrived to Mr. Lee's home she didn't realize how far it as and how messy. He told her "Cook me dinner and wash my clothes. I want this house clean before I return." Soonyea thought "what have I done? Will he let me eat? Will he beat me too? I thought I was free." Soonyea continued to clean the house, all day and all night, she also cooked his dinner. When he returned home he ate his meal and began to try and lay down with her. Soonyea being a young girl didn't know what he was trying to do, she was frightened. He tried time and time again to lay down with her with no success. He became frustrated with her and started to yell at her. After 1 year of marriage, fighting for her life she ran. She left Mr. Lee and went home to her mothers house.

Soonyea mother had 8 more children by several different husbands. Soonyea didn't care at this point she was almost seventeen and just wanted a place to call home. Her mother didn't acknowledge her as her daughter, she said if you are going to live her you have to take care of your brothers and sisters. Soonyea said ok, she felt as long as she didn't have to go through that ordeal with her husband Mr. Lee or the old lady Ms. Chung she would be happy. As the years went by her mother would bring home more kids into the house for Soonyea to take care of. Soonyea started hanging with the wrong crowd, started smoking and cursing to fit in. She was twenty one when her life took a dramatic turn.

As the United State soldiers were doing their rounds or what they call their sweeps across town. The sweeps were to make sure that all the Asian people were in their homes at dusk. Soonyea was on her way home, she noticed it was getting darker and there were no street light. She ran and lost her shoes in the darkness, trying to make it home before the soldiers came. She had about 2 blocks to go and suddenly as she was running across the street she tripped over a rock int eh middle of the road. It was so dark she couldn't see anything so she tried to get up, as she was trying to stand up an army van was coming down the street, they didn't see her lying there and ran over her right leg. She screamed in horrible pain, the van stopped. There were three soldiers in the front seat of the van, the driver was Sargent Pearce, and Private Conner and Private Tanner were also in the front seat. Private Conner got out of the truck to see what they hit. He had his flash light and saw Soonyea screaming in her language. He picked her up in his arms put her in the truck and they took her to the nearest hospital for treatment.

The next day Private Tanner stopped by with flowers and I am sorry card given to Soonyea. He went to see her in her room, he realized how beautiful she was and asked her out on a date. She didn't care for him because he was a black man and a soldier but she decided to go. They dated a few times, when he left to return home he didn't know she was pregnant with his child. After Private Tanner returned home several months had passed and he had not spoke to Soonyea since he left. One day Private Conner contacted Private Tanner and said "Did you know you got a littler girl on the way?" Private Tanner said "man, you lying." Private Conner said "nope, the young lady we found on the ground that day and saved her she's pregnant, man you better fix this." Private Tanner contacted Soonyea through the soldier and they decided to have an abortion.

In those days you could not just go to any clinic and have an abortion you have to go to the city. Soonyea lived in the country where only one bus went to the city and back and it only came during Wednesday and only ran twice a day going and coming. She know she had one chance to do this before it was too late to have the abortion. Private Conner helped her get her passport and her visa so that she could go to Seoul to have her abortion. Private Conner scheduled the appointment but told her he could not be part of getting her there she had to find her own way there. At three months pregnant she knew if she waited one more month it would be too late. When she went to get on the bus the first time, she forgot her money, the second time she forgot her papers, the third time she spent her money and the forth time it was too late. The soldier called Private Tanner to tell him she did not get the abortion. Private Tanner then went to the only woman in his life, his mother. He told her what happened and her only comment was "boy you better go take care of this, either you are going to bring that baby here so she can have a life or you are going to leave her there. You better take care of your responsibility I didn't raise you to abandon your kids." He started devising a plan to get his daughter here after she was born. After, researching the law he found out that he could not bring the baby here without the mother. He finally decided to bring both Soonyea and Delphina to the states. Soonyea's began her new life with her husband and daughter in the United States.


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