New Arrival magazine features FOCS as an important newborn parenting program in Seattle
FOCS family in Seattle Child’s magazine: Conscious Parenting & Activism
Happy One Year, FOCS!
by Amy HyunAh Pak 박현아Congratulations to our FOCS community as we celebrate our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of building a loving community of families of color and connecting new parents in Seattle. Who would have ever known the affinity to gather with other families of color would be so visceral and profoundly shared by so many others. As your friend, founder and sister mother, I want to deeply thank each of you for having the faith in the spirit of FOCS and for entrusting me to guide the process of our gatherings and growing our community during such a precious and sacred time as a new parent. One year out, the candid and genuine affection shared amongst our mothers and children has been something quite remarkable. Let’s applaud our community response to create a space for families of color, by collectively saying “IT’S ABOUT
DAYMN TIME!”Our one year anniversary also brings us to the point of no return! We are in the midst of growing bigger and more communal, to create a non-profit FOCS 501c3 with a FOCS family center and spaces for moms to run their own businesses and classes to have careers based on their own terms. BUILD WITH US.
What a touching and humorous path we have shared the past year lending to each other’s glows and grows. From learning that brown nipples are not the norm, to wearing fashion forward spit-up styles, to comparing notes for elimination communication and cloth diaper washing green mamas, to amusing non-vegetarian vegetarians, to loving fierce little brown girls, enjoying lumpia rolling parties, eating best comida caseira, trading black hair tips, and compelled by our north-end playdates posse, twin-toting wonder women, white guy dads, in-house baby massage & sign language & mandarin singing mama warriors, Blasians, island boy partners, and the spirit of “Redefining Fatherhood” by new dads of color…
This is us. BROWN, BEAUTIFUL, HAPA, HAPPY, WHOLE & COMPLETE. This is FOCS.
Our eldest son, Jahyoo, turned 5yo this week and we are celebrating with four generations of Korean and Japanese òhana in Hawai’i. Understanding the brilliance of discovery and growing spirit of a 5yo is something fascinating. I reflect on my first years in Korea as a 5yo orphan, about to be adopted to America, into a White family, the Molines of small town, Minnesota. My life would forever change. My only truth of my Korean child self that I can speak of says that I was raised in a country marketplace in rural Korea, just outside of Seoul in 1975-1979, cared for by the elders and shop keepers, as my birth father drank himself to death. Buddhist monasteries were known to care for children post Korean War, and thus made up one of my four homes in Korea. A serendipitous change in fate occurred, where my probable life as a Buddhist monk was intercepted by a compassionate and progressive female monk who was concerned for my education being that I, a precocious girl, wasn’t fit for a life of monkhood. I was sent off to the universe and eventually lifted to Minnesota to be raised by my incredible parents, Joel and Carol and my non-biological Korean adopted big brother, David. Their world view & cooperative culture laid ground to what I would later unknowingly define as my value system and sense of home.
It was not always idyllic being one of a handful of children of color in our White Protestant small town of 10,000, Minnesota, yet I thrived in the innocence of freedom. However, not feeling comfortable in my skin or eyes was deafening. Now I understand this as internalized racial oppression. I was able to sustain a resilient and loving spirit and ignite the curiosity of discovery for something beyond what had become my norm in midwest White America. This drive and affinity led to Tacoma for college in 1993 and brought me back to living in Korea and Brasil and traveling around internationally discovering a connective thread of global citizenship and consciousness. Through serving youth and community organizing in South Seattle, I became self-actualized and gratefully acknowledge the path that I have traveled. To understand how this life experience has brought me to my first biological connection, my own 5yo child; to impress onto him the power of loving your self, your family history and culture, to understand your power in the path you forge ahead with a strong community and self-identity. To be free, thus Jahyoo’s Korean namesake.
People ask, how did you start FOCS? I think of the spirit of the Ubuntu saying, FOCS is because you are. A nod to Paulo Coelho of the Alchemist, who writes, “Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.” FOCS ignited based on one walk with new mommy and acquaintance Stephanie Jones Perguero, who is Korean and Black and was concerned for her Dominican, Korean and Black little baby girl. She wanted to make sure she would have a community of other brown babies like Soleil and desperately wanted to find something beyond what the mainstream mommy groups offered. And to not feel so marginalized. And here we have our springboard: you all have created FOCS to what it is today. Our truth speaks and our truth creates.
We celebrate FOCS, our beautiful growing powerfully talented community of loving and remarkable families. Happy Mother’s Day to us all and we welcome our DAD FOCS to connect deeper and share their truths.
in solidarity and love,
Jahyoo & Asa’s Omma