West Fargo woman uses internet to reconnect with biological family

Published: Jun. 5, 2017 at 7:02 PM CDT
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A West Fargo woman is reuniting with her biological father after 28 years. Leah Dalton was born in South Korea and adopted by a family in Breckenridge, Minnesota. Dalton says this re-connection would not have been possible without technology and hope.

"When we hugged I definitely didn't want to let go, it just felt like a long time," explained Dalton.

It's been a long road for Dalton to hug her biological father, step mother and half-brother. They're from Incheon, South Korea. She was adopted at 18 months and grew up in America after her father gave her up so she could have a better life.

"I've had a desire to connect but I never really did anything about it," stated Dalton.

She learned months ago her biological father Jong Sung Kwon has been looking to reconnect with her and wrote a letter to the adoption group in Minnesota two years ago.

"I felt very emotional because I thought this poor man has been waiting for two years to hear from and I thought that maybe he doesn't think I care," said Dalton.

Dalton reached out to her father but it wasn't that simple. The South Korean adoption agency would not give out her father’s contact information. She eventually used Facebook to track him down.

"He added me as a friend, and so I was very excited," stated Dalton.

The next challenge was the language barrier.

"It's a little bit of charades but most of the time it's using the applications on our phones," said Dalton.

She speaks no Korean and he speaks no English. They use their translations apps on their cell phones to speak to one another.

We asked Leah's father why he reached out.

"I was curious, I always wanted to give health and happy," said Leah's father, Jong Sung Kwon.

"So, curious?" asked reporter Ashley Bishop.

"Yes, (he) wanted to make sure I was happy and healthy," said Dalton.

Dalton's father met her adoptive parents at the airport with an exchange of gratefulness.

"This gives her a piece of her puzzle," said Dalton's adoptive mother, Joyce Wolter.

"Her and I new family," said Dalton's half-brother Yool Hwan Kwon.

Dalton says adopted children should not give up hope if they're on a similar journey and use the tools in front of you.

"I think the power of the internet is amazing, I feel for me that was a huge part of it," stated Dalton.

Dalton plans to show her family where she grew up, her current job and Lakes Country this week. Eventually, she plans to visit South Korea one day in the future.