A Birth Country Over 6,000 Miles Away


By: Ashley Manzo, Reporter

For the first four months of her life, Grace Purcell lived in South Korea, was raised in foster care and later escorted to the United States by an American teacher from Korea.

“It hasn’t been different, not even for a second. In the beginning, you receive a picture of the child-whom you’ve never met-and from then on she was my child. I remember thinking after I got that picture, before Grace was here, that someone else had my child and they better be taking good care of them,” mother Deborah Purcell said.

Junior Grace Purcell is a state finalist for track and cross country, and has an extreme passion for running. She loves going on hikes, bike rides and vacations to new places with her family.

“Being adopted is unique because not many people can say they were born in another country, but for the most part it’s just like being a normal kid,” Grace Purcell said.

Although she lives the life of a normal kid, people don’t always treat Grace Purcell as a normal kid.

“I was walking to Step a couple weeks ago from my Fox Valley class with another Asian student. When we walked around the corner, this group of Hispanic kids, some of which go to our school, said ‘Konichiwa’ and burst out laughing,” Grace Purcell said. “It made me feel really really mad because I don’t understand why people have to be so rude.”

However, the offensive comments are a small price to pay compared to the extensive process Grace Purcell’s parents, Deborah and Scott Purcell, had to go through to qualify as adoptive parents.

“We had to go through background checks, home inspections, financial reviews, family and friend endorsements and extensive training to become a foster parent, which are multiple seminars teaching how to interact with and raise a child. We even had to have our well water checked to make sure it was up to standards,” Scott Purcell said. “It was very stressful because you could go through all this work and never be able to adopt a kid.”

Fortunately for the Purcell’s, they did qualify as adoptive parents.

Even though she loves her family in America, Grace Purcell is still interested in her birth country and learning more about her background.

“I have wondered what it would be like to still live in South Korea and I have wanted to travel there, since I haven’t been back. I wonder if I’d have any siblings, what my biological parents would be like, what sports I would be doing, or what my friends would be like,” Grace Purcell said.

Being an adoptive child has definitely changed Grace Purcell’s perspective on raising a family in the future.

“I am actually interested in adopting a child when I’m older. It’s really cool because instead of adding to the population, you’re saving a child who is already alive,” Grace Purcell said.