A Stolen Soul

The bleeding began on the plane ride home.

''I'm going to die,'' thought Yong Jones.

She and her husband were returning to Korea from a vacation in Japan when Yong hurried to the back of the plane. In the tiny airplane bathroom, she discovered she was hemorrhaging.

As soon as the plane touched down in Seoul, Yong and Laurence Jones rushed to the hospital. A doctor examined Yong, and told her: ''You've had a miscarriage.''

The news stunned Yong. She hadn't known she was pregnant.

The doctor explained that she was three months pregnant and had lost the baby because it began growing in her fallopian tube rather than in her womb.

Yong began to cry. ''To find out I am a mother and on the same day to lose the baby is too much.''

The doctor had worse news. ''It's unlikely you'll be able to have children,'' he said. ''You have less than a 50 percent chance.''

Yong sobbed harder now.

Larry held her as they left the hospital. ''It's OK, honey,'' he told her. ''We don't have to have children.''

A few years after Yong's miscarriage, the young couple left Korea and moved to Loring Air Force Base in northern Maine, where Larry was stationed.

They lived in a two-bedroom trailer near the base. Though Yong missed her family, her husband made her happier than she ever thought possible. Larry delighted in sharing American culture with his wife. He took her golfing, bowling, to drive-in theaters, to fancy restaurants and to McDonald's.

''I want to show you something new every day,'' he told her.

Despite their love, an unspoken sadness churned inside each of them. Their attempts to have a baby in the years after the miscarriage had failed.

Yong prayed for a child she could hold in her arms, bundle in blankets and take for long walks on Maine's country roads. As more time passed, she grew increasingly forlorn, believing she would never be a mother.

Laurence Jones secretly dreamed of a son he could teach to play baseball and football. A boy he could fish with and wrestle with. A son who would one day have children of his own.

Reluctantly, they had each accepted the possibility they might never be parents. Larry promised to take Yong on trips to lift her spirits. But his military travel came first. Above: Laurence Jones Jr. was a miracle baby for Laurence and Yong Jones. After a miscarriage, his mother was told by a doctor that there was a good chance she would never be able to have a child.

In the fall of 1968, Yong hugged Larry tightly, squeezing back tears as he headed to Guam for temporary duty.

Not long after he left she was overcome with waves of nausea and sluggishness.

''Maybe I'm sad about my husband being gone,'' she thought. Then another idea crossed her mind: ''Maybe I'm pregnant.''

A visit to her doctor confirmed she was going to have a baby. She drove to the base and told officials there she needed to talk with her husband in Guam.

Because he was stationed on a remote part of the island, an officer used a military radio to connect her with Larry. When she heard her husband's voice she couldn't hold back her news.

''Honey, I'm pregnant!'' Yong shouted.

''What did you say?'' Larry's voice crackled back.

''Honey, I went to the doctor's today. I'm two months pregnant.''

Finally Larry understood. Yong listened to him whoop with joy. ''We're going to have a baby,'' he hollered.

Larry returned to Maine a few months later, and he and Yong began decorating the spare bedroom for their new baby. Larry insisted the room be decorated blue and yellow.

''What about pink?'' Yong asked.

''Oh, no, it's going to be a boy,'' he said.

Yong gave in, buying blue and yellow baby blankets, pajamas and sleepers.

On a warm spring morning, Yong felt a sharp pain in her abdomen and told Larry: ''The baby is coming.''

On May 14, 1969, she gave birth to a boy. Yong had never experienced such happiness. She felt like she was floating as she held her son.

Her husband rushed out to buy gifts. He returned with a baseball bat and a train set. ''This is for Larry Junior,'' he said proudly. Above: When he was 2 years old, Laurence Jones Jr. and his parents visited his extended family in Inchon, South Korea, where is mother's parents showered him with gifts and good wishes. The colors of the boy's celebratory Korean clothing symbolize his bright future and his potential for respect and wealth.

''Oh, is that what we're going to name him?'' Yong asked. ''Junior?''

Bundling him in blankets, they took Laurence Jones Jr. home to their trailer. They marveled at his patch of light blond hair and the hazel-blue eyes that would later darken to brown.

Within eight months, Junior was stretching his chubby legs and walking in the field behind their home.

When Junior was 2, his parents took him to Inchon to meet Yong's parents and her sister.

Though they had missed Junior's first birthday, his Korean grandparents celebrated the important milestone during his visit. In keeping with Korean tradition, they showered money, food and good wishes on the child.

During the celebration, Junior wore a traditional silk rainbow-colored Korean shirt and a black-and-gold cape. The vivid colors of the rainbow represented his bright future. The cape represented respect and wealth, qualities his family hoped he would attain during manhood.

Dressed in his Korean finery, Junior posed for pictures with his parents and grandparents. He stood behind a large kitchen table filled with rice cakes, fruits, sweets and stacks of money.

The boy grinned into the camera, relishing the attention. His parents smiled too, proud of their son.

''He is destined to have a bright future and a long life,'' a family member predicted.