Baby left to die in rat-infested garbage shares path to healing, forgiveness: 'God is faithful'

Jackie Darby
Jackie Darby | Jackie Darby

Jackie Darby's journey began in the most harrowing circumstances imaginable: abandoned as a newborn in a Seoul garbage dump, she was left to the mercy of the elements and animals.

But a twist of fate, God's faithfulness and the kindness of a missionary nurse changed her story. Eventually, she was adopted by a loving family in the United States. 

“I was an abandoned baby left to die in the garbage dump of Seoul, Korea, when I was a newborn, to the point that rats were eating on my naked little body,” Darby told The Christian Post. “But the Lord sent a missionary nurse who found me and rescued me and took me to a local orphanage that was run by Americans ... and I began my new life there. On the other side of the world was a couple with five biological children of their own, and God was touching their hearts to do something more.”

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Though in a safe, stable environment, Darby’s childhood wasn’t exactly easy. Despite the love and care of her adoptive parents, the challenges of fitting in and understanding her own story were significant. Growing up in a predominantly white rural community outside of Chicago, her experience was marked by feelings of alienation and struggles with identity. 

"I always felt like I was the only ethnic child growing up there," she recalled. 

A pivotal moment in Darby's life came when she was 22, when a heart-to-heart with God during a flight gave her guidance and purpose. This marked the beginning of a transformative relationship with her faith, leading to a profound sense of identity for the first time in her life.

“I was looking out the [plane's] window and I said, ‘God, if You're the God that I've heard of my whole childhood, my whole life up to this point, You have to come into my life and make yourself real, I will do whatever you want. Just please take over my life,’” she recalled. “I felt like, at that point, I had made some pretty bad decisions. I was really, really struggling with my worth, my identity, who I was, and why I was even on this Earth to begin with. I always felt like a piece of garbage. I always told myself I shouldn't be here. I should have died. I was thrown away.

But at that moment, I knew that God is faithful and He heard my prayers. He came into my heart and my life. He took over. I just had to listen and do the things He was asking me to do. That was the beginning of my journey, my relationship with the Lord, and when my life began to really transform, but it has been a process.”

It was her own experience and desire to help those struggling with identity that compelled her to write the bilingual children's book,Whose Am I? The Truth About Your Worth and Identity in Christ. The book, co-written with Aixa de López, “shares true life experiences about adoption, redemption, and finding our true identity in Christ, while providing opportunities to ask questions and engage in conversations that are often difficult for families to address.”

Jackie Darby
Jackie Darby | Jackie Darby

The idea of writing a children's book came to her in a dream nearly 30 years ago, but it wasn't until recently that Darby, now a wife and mother, decided to bring it to fruition.

"God was just putting it in my heart to share my story so others like me can understand that healing is a process and to have somebody that they can identify with," Darby explained. “My husband, occasionally, would bring up the book and say, ‘What about the book? How are you going to know if it's a God dream if you don't put your faith into action?’”

Today, Darby ministers to adult adoptees throughout Latin America in a support group of Alianza Cristiana para los Huérfanos (ACH). Over the years, as she’s shared her story publicly, Darby said she’s heard from countless people who, like her, have struggled with their identity and feelings of abandonment. Her advice is always the same: Seek a relationship with God, as only He can fill the void of uncertainty and provide peace. 

“My advice would be to call out to God, to come into that relationship with the Lord as your heavenly Father. God's no respecter of persons; what He did in my mind and my heart, He can and wants to do it in every child, every teenager or every adult's life.”

For adoptive parents and foster families, Darby said she’s a firm believer in the power of honest, age-appropriate communication. The truth, even when painful, is crucial for healing and growth, she said.

“No matter what the age when they start asking you questions, always tell them the truth,” she said. "Every child deserves to know their story and the truth behind it.”

Jackie Darby
Jackie Darby

Eventually, Darby was able to come to a place of forgiving her birth parents for abandoning her. When she moved to Fort Myers, Florida, she joined a church and found significant support in her youth pastors, who introduced her to the love of Christ. 

It was during a Bible study about forgiveness, Darby realized she needed to forgive her birth mother: “I always blamed her,” the author shared. She confided in her youth pastor's wife, Laurie, about her desire to forgive, and Laurie, an adoptive mother herself, helped Darby through the forgiveness process. 

This took place in the nursery of Laurie’s adopted baby, where Darby felt she could symbolically forgive her birth mother.

“I just went through the whole forgiveness process of forgiving my birth mom that night, and it was a huge load off of my shoulders,” she said. 

Darby said she hopes her story can serve as a source of hope for others navigating the often turbulent waters of adoption and self-discovery and recognize that they, too, through Christ, can find healing. 

“The key, for me, as a Christian, is that we come into a relationship with our Heavenly Father,” she said. “God wants to be part of our life. He wants to be our Heavenly Father. He wants to be our best friend. He is the only one who can fill that void, that area of our life that we feel is so missing a piece of the puzzle. … He supernaturally can come in, fill our hearts, fill that void and give us peace.”

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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