Being in Korea on the first day of National Adoption/Adoptee Awareness Month seems painfully apropos. This trip has been incredible. I feel loved beyond comprehension and so connected to my roots here. Blessed is an understatement.
Being an adoptee means perpetually feeling as though my heart is split in two.
A few days with my Korean family will never be enough to make up for the years we were separated. The language barrier leaves a plethora of unanswered questions.
Yes, in many ways, it was a miracle that I found them. But the agency knew I had sisters all along. They withheld that information at the time of my adoption and didn’t tell me until 2008 when I visited Korea, at which point I started the official search.
The agency also had their names, ages, and the ability to contact them the whole time. The entire five years that I spent thinking it was impossible. It would have been longer (or forever) before I found them, but for the social worker who took pity and broke the rules on my behalf to send my sister a telegram when I had nearly given up hope.
What a cruel system… to steal that hope. To let my birth mother spend three decades wondering if I was dead or alive. To expect gratitude from me when they took so much.
Being an adoptee made me who I am today, but not without great cost. I don’t take any of it for granted.
When examining adoption, we have to hold space for multiple truths. Truths like the joy I felt seeing my two families meet for the first time AND the agony of saying goodbye to my sister at the train station yesterday.
During #NAAM (and every month), #adopteevoices should be at the center. Our lived experiences are nuanced and complex, countering false narratives that have silenced and erased us historically.
We do not share our stories lightly. Every photo I posted during my time here belied overwhelming emotions that words could never adequately express. But we still try. Because adoption is not a celebration, it is compounded trauma. And despite how loved I am, the love makes the loss even more palpable.