Mended Heart Cookies

These cookies come with a story.  A love story.  Probably not the kind of love story you expect to hear about on Valentine’s Day.  Let me explain….

My sister and I were orphans in South Korea.  We were adopted together by my parents.  Originally, the adoption agency only wanted my parents to take my sister, because I was born with a heart defect.  Why would an American couple want a flawed baby, when there were so many healthy children available?  My parents fought and fought to adopt the two of us together.  Finally, they were successful.

We arrived in the U.S. in February.  My sister had just turned three, and I was fifteen months.  We were malnourished, had scabies, eczema, and all other kinds of medical issues.  They all cleared up, save for the bum heart.  The doctors wanted to wait until I was forty pounds before they operated on it, but I was such a scrawny kid that my mother feared I would never reach that weight.  So when I was four, they scheduled the surgery.  The doctors patched up a hole in the septum, and repaired a faulty valve.  The surgery left a scar on my chest, making me a member of the “zipper club.” Some of my earliest memories are from my days in the hospital.  My parents had the support of all their friends and family during that time.

Which brings me to these cookies.  One of my mother’s friends silk screened a shirt for me.  It had a picture of a smiley-faced heart with a little bandage on it.  It was one of a kind.  It was my favorite when I was little.  That shirt made me feel special. My mom saved it for me, along with the clothes I wore when I arrived from South Korea.  The below picture is the only one I could find of me wearing the shirt.  I was post-surgery, still in the hospital. You can see the bandage from the suture peeking out.  My son is just a bit older than I was in that picture.  He’s modeling the shirt in the picture on the right.  He calls it the “old heart shirt that you wore when you were little.”

Every time I look at this shirt, I remember what an active childhood I had, full of running around outside, climbing trees, playing tag with the neighbors.  All these things that I would not have been able to do had I not had that heart surgery.  Had I not been chosen by parents who wouldn’t give up their fight to adopt a child that no one wanted.
So on this Valentine’s Day, I share with you the love that enabled me to live.  My heart has been broken many times since, but it always emerged mended and strong.

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Sweet Comments:

  1. What a heartwarming story. Your parents sound like wonderful and loving people. I’m happy that your mom saved the shirt for you. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Joey and Tyler!

  2. Your story has teared me up and warmed my heart!!!
    I love seeing your son in that shirt. Happy valentines day to you!

  3. Vicki Vascik says:

    Suzanne what a sweet life story and wonderful dedication to your mom and dad. Happy Valentine’s Day and hugs to you all.

  4. I had no idea, thanks for sharing your story. Love that shirt and the cookies and especially the photo of your son wearing your shirt!! xoxo happy valentine’s day!!

  5. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, personal story! I’m so glad that there were forces of love working in your life from the very beginning to bring you to where you are today. Amazing that you still have that adorable shirt today to look back on the memories. Happy Valentine’s Day; there’s certainly no shortage of love to celebrate! xo

  6. Awe Suzanne I love that you shard your story. I knew you were adopted, but I didn’t know the back story. These cookies and that shirt are all that more special. Happy Valentine’s Day my friend! 🙂

  7. What a touching story!

  8. Such an amazing story! 🙂 Happy Valentines Day!

  9. Thanks for sharing your journey. God works out every step in our lives & you are blessed. That shirt is priceless. Happy Valentine’s Day my friend. 🙂

  10. I just found this post through looking for mended hearts cookies. It made me tear up. 🙂 My son is about to mark his 10-year anniversary of open-heart surgery in April, and we’re going to take cookies to his cardiologist and the office staff. (He’s now a happy, healthy 10-year-old.) Happy belated Valentine’s Day from one member of the zipper club to another!

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