An American adoptee story

Korean orphan grows up to find love, contentment in Foley, al.com, Published: Friday, October 14, 2011, 8:44 AM
FOLEY, Alabama — Mihyon Ellis’ life with her husband, Frank, in Foley is worlds apart from how her life began.
Mihyon EllisGet to Know Mihyon Ellis of Foley

She was an orphan in Seoul, Korea, hungry and without a home. An American serviceman’s family adopted her when she was 11 years old. They took her to live with them in Florida and then California. It was not a pleasant atmosphere to grow up in — Ellis was treated more like a servant than a child. By the time she was 15 years old, Ellis was already working full time, first in a sewing factory and then in an insurance company.

“I couldn’t wait to get away from my stepparents’ home because it was not a loving environment. I went straight from high school graduation in St. Petersburg, Fla., to living on my own,” Ellis said. She worked as a freelance administrative consultant and office manager for a series of businesses, from a hotel chain to an architectural firm.
Ellis moved to Baltimore when she was 21. By the time she met her husband, she was working for the National Center for the Blind typesetting all their publications and she had a second job modeling.
Ellis met Frank at the Christmas party of a mutual client. “When Frank asked to see me again after that party, I expected it to be a business meeting, but it wasn’t long before we were married.”
 Frank Ellis was traveling extensively on business the couple married and he often visited his mother and sister in Daphne. He introduced her to the South, where he had his roots, and she was captivated.
“People were so friendly, I was happier living here than I was in Maryland,” she said.
Get to Know Mihyon Ellis 
Birthplace: Seoul, Korea
Hometown: Foley
Occupation: Manager, Wolf Bay Landing Condominiums
Activities: Cooking, boating, reading

Soon after they were married, they got the chance to buy a waterfront condominium complex, Wolf Bay Landing, in Foley. They had never been landlords, never managed a hotel, but they bought 62 vacation units on 62 acres.

“It’s a natural oasis. Close to everything, and it’s the only waterfront vacation rental in Foley,” Ellis said. She wasn’t planning to become the property manager, but it soon became clear that the place needed hands-on, full-time attention.
“We consider ourselves stewards of this sanctuary,” she said. “Frank and I come from very different backgrounds, but we both have a desire to serve people and we believe in giving to the community. I’m so grateful to be here.”
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