"Lost Seoul" with Jin Stearns

 Thursday, July 8, 2021 
3:00pm-4:00pm  
Orchestra Hall

Jin Stearns is a speaker, author and father from Canton, Ohio. His book, Lost Seoul, is being turned into a motion picture this year. After getting lost in a train station in Seoul, South Korea in 1968, six-year old Ji Soo hides under a bench to wait for his family to come and save him. They never come, and he realizes this is just the first step in a journey beyond his control, one that will take him halfway across the world to discover the love of a new family, and back again 40 years later to search for the family he never meant to lose.

Jin Stearns, Author

Stearns was born in Korea. At the age of six, he was alone, separated from his family. He was lost at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, and picked up by a stranger and placed into an orphanage. At the orphanage, everyone had to work to live...you had to have some kind of duties or responsibilities to keep you there, or else you would go back out to the streets. At the age of 7, Stearns' duty was to make breakfast for all the children in the orphanage. He had to keep his clothes clean. He was issued two sets of clothing, one to wear and one as the spare when the first set was getting washed. Each and every night he prayed that his family would find him and take him back home, but that never happened.

At age 10, Stearns found out that he had been adopted and was going to America...the Land of Opportunity. He was so excited that he cried for days, because it had finally happened: he was getting a family. He could only hope that it was not just a dream. When he saw the letters and pictures of his new family, he cried again. He could not believe that this was really happening to him.

At the time, before he came to America, Stearns spoke no English and had zero reading ability, not even the basic alphabet. What was even more difficult was that his new family could not speak or write Korean. They had no way to communicate. He could not talk to his parents about his frustrations, fears and concerns, and the many questions he wanted to ask, he could not. He began to wonder if this was the right place for him. He began to question that maybe his previous life wasn't so bad after all...at least back at the orphanage he was somebody with purpose, and had responsibilities.

It was then that Stearns knew he must become someone with a purpose here in America, too, and become familiar and comfortable--and successful-- in the new life around him.

Lakeside's Education Pillar is proud to bring Jin Stearns to the community to share his story and how it led him to develop his book, "Lost Seoul."

October 2021
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