Because this may be an easier option for some…
It’s Monday, November 9, 2015 and as it turns out, it’s World Adoption Day. Thank you Instagram Trending Tags – how did I not know this was happening?!
While I’ve posted a number of times on a few of my other blogs (which have since been deleted), I apologize for failing to write anything in regards to my adoption here on Book Three. It’s not that it’s not important or anything; I just don’t make it a major part of my normal day-to-day. Here’s the thing – over the past few days, due to some conversations I’ve been having (more on this in a few minutes) I’ve actually been thinking about it more and more.
How fitting, right?
A Little Bit of A Korean Backstory
I was born in Seoul. Right from birth, I grew up with a foster family but was adopted when I was just 3 months old. As it turns out, I was adopted due to my birth father dying sometime between my conception and my birth. I guess he worked in a metal shop or something and died from lymphatic cancer, or so the story goes. For me, I have to believe this story 100%. My mother, now single, had to make the difficult decision to give me up for adoption. With the cultural stigma single mothers in Korea face, there was no better alternative. She knew we both would have a better life with this decision no matter how hard it may have been. In my particular situation, and as a father of two boys, I can’t even fathom how difficult of a decision it was.
Here’s an interesting NPR story on the matter:
A pretty complex issue, right? For something that seems so mainstream to one yet grounds for cultural expulsion to another, it’s hard to say yea or nay to something like this, especially in being the
perceived bastard adopted outsider that I am. Nevertheless, and as the story goes, I left Seoul and flew into SeaTac Airport on, November 14, 1983.
My mom and dad, brother and two sisters picked me up just as if Mr. Stork from Dumbo had dropped me off to a beautiful family ready to meet their newest member. And while I’m no special case or story, it has been my family today, that has shaped my own views on adoption the most. From the talks after elementary school after being called ‘flat-face’ to that episode in high school where I wasn’t quite sure who or what I was, they’ve always been there.
My Korean Host Family
One of the best experiences of my life was when my parents let me go to Korea for a summer to live with a host family. I was at a stage in my life where I felt a huge need to experience my birth county in an all-encompassing and immersive experience. So for about 6 weeks between my Junior and Senior years in high school (about 14 years ago), I lived in the northern area of Seoul with the Kim family who showed me a Korean lifestyle I had only dreamed of. I visited a Korean school, hung out with friends, went camping, had weeks of home-cooked Korean food (which, by the way is amazing), went to the movies, discovered Korean ‘hip-hop’ style and just about fell instantly love with a place I knew so little about. It was a Korean adoptee’s romanticism of a life lost at birth.
It took me a few years, but I realized that was all it was. A romanticized affair with something that wasn’t me, at least any longer. Dating Andrea about 6 months later also helped me through it all. I mean we ended up getting married and having two kids.
Recently, my cousin, Grace, who also happens to be Korean, introduced me to KakaoTalk. It’s essentially a mobile messaging app popular with many Koreans both in country as well as abroad. While we’ve had a few chats here and there, I’ve also been using it to chat with my old host family from years ago. While our conversations are few and far between, as it turns out, I’ve learned that my host sister, 경화, is getting married in a month! Holy crap!
Although a trip to the wedding couldn’t be had, I’ve told Andrea that sometime in the next few years, we need to go to Korea. We’re just waiting until Lex is old enough to appreciate at least a little bit of the experience.
Enough About Me, It’s #WorldAdoptionDay
So I found this trending topic in Instagram this morning and decided I needed to join in on the action. With the mixed bag of positive AND negative editorials and articles about adoption I’ve been discovering, I thought it’ be fun to join in on the conversation. Although I have nothing to add but a few of my own thoughts and stories, the best thing YOU can do is just read up celebrate the idea of family no matter who you are. Also, thanks to some posts I’ve found, I stumbled across www.kindredadoption.org. It’s an organization that helps adoptees and families of adoptees reunite, learn and discover more about their culture. Maybe I’ll even volunteer… that is if I can figure out anything I can volunteer of myself.
After reading this post a few times, I’ve realized that there is no real point. I guess I just needed to write stuff down today. I promise more poignant and structured posts later.