Kara (Kim In Suk) Jones Stevenson

Kim In (Ein) Suk was born on June 6, 1966 in Seoul, Korea. (Date and place designated by orphanage. Actual date, place, and natural parents are unknown.)  In Suk does not remember her mother. Her earliest recollections are of her father taking her to his “girlfriend’s” place. She did not like In Suk, so her father took her to the street and waited for a truck or something to come by. The purpose was to give In Suk to someone to be taken away and to “lose.”  No vehicle came, so at night she was left at the door of someone who might have known her father.

They treated her very badly. On one occasion In Suk had some Won (Korean money) (about five cents worth) and spent it at the open market for something like warm muffins. When the people found out, they kicked her out of the house. She went crying down the street (alley) and the woman in the market took her to the police station at the end of the street. She was kept there, where she would be warm, for about three days. The last day there she was outside when she was asked her name. Something told her not to give the right name, which she didn’t like, so she wrote in the dirt, “Kim In Suk,” instead of “Back (Bock) Hung Suk,” her real name.

In Suk was first taken to a place where babies and toddlers were kept. After a few days she was taken to the “Yellow House,” which was a two story, L shaped, yellow building with quite a bit of lawn area, and a gate with a guard. (This seemed to be a collecting and processing center for children, from which some were sent to other orphanages.)  One cold day In Suk stood too close to the “pot-bellied” stove warming herself, and melted the leg on her pants. This happened just about the time representatives from other orphanages came to pick some children. The woman there was angry that In Suk had burned her pants, so kicked her, grabbed her by the hair, and threw In Suk across the room. She asked the woman if she could go to Angel’s Home Orphanage and the woman told her to go. In Suk had been in the “Yellow House” perhaps three years.

Angel’s Home consisted of six small buildings around a small flag stone square. The play area was outside the secured court yard.

One rainy Saturday, September 7, 1974, (In Suk had been at Angel’s Home at least two years.)  In Suk was not feeling well, so was home from school. A few men and women from the U.S. Army Headquarters Company (from Yongsan in Seoul) arrived to do repairs and clean up for winter. (The Company-sponsored Angel’s Home.)

Two fellows and a woman went into the small recreation room/building with the small children. In Suk stood out because she was older. It was during this time that the woman (SSG Shirley R.S. Jones) and In Suk began getting acquainted. Thereafter, each time SSG Jones went to Angel’s Home, which was most Saturdays, In Suk was by her side.

September 28 was the monthly birthday party at Angel’s Home. The Company furnished a big cake, ice cream, milk, and orange juice. Some of the people assigned to the Company came to the party, and in some cases brought their families. A musical program was put on by the children in the orphanage.

In Suk came home from school (in Korea half a day on Saturday) to find another girl, Beck Chang Mi (Me), sitting with SSG Jones. After she finished her part in the program, a dance with four other girls (to Lawrence Welk’s Baby Elephant Walk), In Suk sat on the other side of SSG Jones. Then SSG Jones had one on each arm every time she went to the orphanage.

SSG Jones and a friend, Lt. Col. (sister) Lillian Martin began taking the two girls on Saturday afternoon trips away from the orphanage. Other times SSG Jones, accompanied by a Korean friend, Miss No Song (Sung) Ok (Oak), took In Suk and Chang Mi shopping. They thus got new coats, pants, tops, underwear, socks and boots.

On Thanksgiving day about fifty of the school-aged children, dressed in new clothes, were brought to the post on the Army bus sent to pick them up, to eat dinner in the company mess hall. The girls were among the children. SSG Jones and Miss No ate with In Suk and Chang Mi then rode the bus back to Angel’s Home with them. After leaving the girls, they took a taxi to “The Yellow House” to seek out In Suk’s and Chang Mi’s records.

On December 20, 1974 SSG Jones took the girls to stay with her, in her quarters on post, for six days. They were both excited to receive (among other things) their very own, first doll, a baby with hair and sleeping eyes.

By January 25, 1975, SSG Jones was able to rent an apartment off post. Her name had finally come to the top of the waiting list. It was in a compound of American style apartments that housed many American military families. Sister Kim Moon Soon, a returned missionary, became the housekeeper.

SSG Jones and Miss No went to the orphanage to get In Suk and Chang Mi. Without any official papers they were allowed to remove the girls, because Mrs. Yun, orphanage president, said that she knew Mrs. Jones was a “good woman.”

Another unforgettable event was when Sister Kim took In Suk and Chang Mi to the Korean beauty shop to have permanents. When “Mommie” (SSG Jones) came home from work and Sister Kim told her that it took six hours for the permanents, she couldn’t believe that it was six hours each. Needless to say, the girls were not anxious to have another permanent any time soon.

In Suk and Chang Mi gained two new friends, Susan Hop Lee and Lee Kyong Sil. Susan (Americanized her name) was attending the Yongsan LDS Servicemen’s Branch on post. Kyong Sil had visited the branch. She was a nonmember. Both were high school girls. They visited the apartment often and helped In Suk and Chang Mi with English. They too called SSG Jones “Mom.”

SSG Jones had Sister Kim take In Suk and Chang Mi to Korean dancing school and they were going to Primary on post, where Sister Kim translated for them. On post at the children’s Saturday movie, she again sat between them to translate.

January and February were school vacation. They went to the local Korean school for about two months, then began staying at home for English studies.

June 5, on the occasion of a double birthday party, In Suk became Kara and Chang Mi became Donna. It was Kara’s birthday, a day early. Donna’s birthday had occurred in January while they were still at Angel’s Home. The reason for being a day early was so the next day, Saturday, Kara, Donna, Sister Kim, Mom and a friend from Mom’s office, Choi Soon Ho, could go with the Yongsan Servicemen’s Branch to a very mini Lagoon type amusement park. It was not yet open for the season, to the public, but it was open for the use of the Branch members and friends for the fee of $5.00 per family. (Soon Ho was in the Korean Army. He was a KATUSA, which is Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army.)

Kara and Donna spent much time at the apartment complex swimming pool, until both came down with ear infection. It was a bitter pill not to be able to go to the pool until the infection was gone.

In July, Leonard, Mom’s husband, arrived from Alabama to begin the adoption papers. He was there for a week and had the opportunity of going to an Angel’s Home birthday party.

Kara, Donna, and Mom left Korea on November 1, 1975. Just before they left, they and Sister Kim went to the baptism of Choi Soon Ho at Sister Kim’s ward (4th Ward in the Seoul Korea Mission home compound.)  Brother Choi had gotten out of the Army and had returned to the university.

En route to Anniston (Fort McClellan), Alabama, they had a short visit with their new Grandpa and Grandma, Harold and LaRetta Smith, in Lucin, Utah. They arrived in Anniston in the evening of Thanksgiving day.

Before Christmas time Kara, Donna and Mom were living in a small house by themselves as Mom and Leonard separated. He gave the girls bicycles for Christmas. Tall, walking dolls from Grandma and Grandpa Smith brought cries of, “A doll! A doll!”  Grandma Jones gave baby dolls.

In April came the divorce and Mom’s retirement from the Army. After school was out, Grandpa and Grandma Smith came and escorted Kara, Donna, and Mom to their new home in Lucin, Utah.

The girls attended school and church at Grouse Creek, Utah, twenty-seven miles away. They graduated from the tenth grade then went to Bear River High School in Garland, Utah. Donna graduated in May 1985. Kara spent her last year in Ogden, graduating in June 1985. While going to school she was employed part time. Later she worked in a dentist’s office, then for Amtrak in the Salt Lake City Santa Fe Railroad Depot.

On June 1, 1990, Kara married Michael Lindsay Stevenson, formerly of Layton, Utah. The wedding was in a mansion that had become a wedding center in Salt Lake City. The ceremony was performed by Mike’s father, a bishop in the LDS church. They were sealed in the Ogden Utah temple on May 19. 1993.

Their first daughter, Lindsay, was born on June 14, 1991, their son, Alex Michael on September 5, 1993, and their second daughter, Emily Sue on October 12, 1995. Emily’s birth brought a big change in the Stevenson household. Kara was diagnosed as having Lupus, which creates a variety of other problems in life.

While attending the Grouse Creek school, Kara participated in school plays, which were mostly at Christmas time, and track meets at the Park Valley school where she won a number of ribbons. She also attended the Hunter Safety classes and received a certificate.

Kara performed a tap dance number, with others from the Grouse Creek school, in a talent show at Box Elder High School, Brigham City, Utah. In the same show, Kara and Donna, wearing Korean dresses, sang together. They both participated in community programs such as on the Fourth of July and were invited to Park Valley to sing on July 24, 1983. At Bear River High School Kara was a member of the choir.

Grandma, LaRetta Smith, taught Kara to play the organ and piano. Grandpa, Harold Smith, did begin teaching her how to play the banjo. Kara played well enough that she was able to play with Grandma, Grandpa and others during “get togethers” at home.

She was a member of the Yongsan Servicemen’s Branch, Seoul, Korea, Anniston Branch, Anniston, Alabama, Grouse Creek Ward,  Grouse Creek, Utah, a ward in Tremonton, and wards in Kaysville, Utah.

In Grouse Creek Kara was MIA Maids president and secretary, Primary teacher, and along with other youth, took her turn playing the organ for the opening of ward Sunday school.

Kara’s callings in Kaysville have been in the nursery, the homemaking teacher, and visiting teacher. She has also been the chair person of the Welcoming Committee.

Kara Kim Stevenson, 46, passed away Thursday, August 11, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah due to an extended illness and is buried at the Ogden City Cemetery.