Disclaimer. I’m adopted. And this is part of that story. I realize that my experiences are my own, and in no way do I mean to impose my feelings or expectations about adoption on others. I just thought I’d take time to write a bit on what my adoption means to me.
I’ve always known that I was adopted. And for the most part, it’s never really phased me that much.
I don’t ever remember a time where my parents sat me down and told me the news that I was adopted. It probably wouldn’t have taken me long to figure out, since I’m Korean and my parents are quite white. It was just something that was always known in our family, something that was acknowledged with love and gratitude. For whatever reasons, my parents were unable to have biological children. But throughout the years, they made it very clear that even though we (my sisters and I) weren’t technically theirs, we were technically theirs. I truly believe that my parents loved my sisters and I exactly as if were were born to them. And I’m grateful for that knowledge.
I give my parents a lot of credit. Back in the 80s, adoption wasn’t quite like it is today. My mom shares that she got a few comments that were less than kind about her daughters. One particularly unkind woman asked her if it was even legal to have my sisters and I. Classy, right? But I think that over the years, there were equally kind remarks as well and my sisters and I just rolled with it.
Being raised in a very Dutch part of the Midwest had its challenges at times. Throughout my childhood, I remember a few mean kids teasing my sisters and I because our eyes “looked funny.” But let’s be honest. Some kids will be mean about practically anything, so we got over it. One thing that to this day always made me wonder, was why everyone always assumed I was Chinese. No offense to China, but I always wished they would teach that there are more Asian countries than just that one. Thankfully, I got to be a part of the small minority to educate people on the tiny but wonderful and important country of South Korea.
Growing up through elementary school, at times I thought that all of our cousins and neighbors and friends were the same. But we just fit in with them and for that reason, I didn’t really see myself as different.
During my Jr. High years I was probably the most difficult about trying to process my adoption. I remember pity parties, where I would convince myself that somewhere out there was my Korean family that missed and loved me so much. But this was only during times that I was mad at my Mom for not getting my own way. And thankfully, those years passed by pretty quickly. And it’s hard to tell if I really had any legit concerns or issues, or if it was just the awkwardness that everyone seems to have during those years.
One thing that was a bit of a challenge, was growing up looking different from most of my friends. Again, for the most part, it wasn’t really something that I was constantly aware of. I talked, thought and acted pretty much like everyone else that I knew and my skin color wasn’t much of a barrier to that at all. I remember walking through a mall with friends, and looking at a reflection and thinking, “Hey. I totally look different than my friends, but I don’t really feel all that different.” And that was about it.
In high school, I did have a bit of a complex, thinking that no one would ever like me since I wasn’t tall and blonde like many of my friends. But again, who doesn’t have some sort of complex in high school thinking about something that might make them a bit different? It wasn’t too much of a hindrance and again, life went on.
For me, processing my adoption probably came full circle when I was a freshman in college. That year, we were required to do a Commemorative Speech and I ended up doing one about my Birth Mother. For me, it was at that point that I realized that I really did owe a lot to the woman who chose to give me life, even though she was unable to keep me. I remember reading through my birth records, noticing that two days after I was born, my birth mother signed me over to the Baby Center where I stayed before heading out to the orphanage. I always wondered if she spent any time with me in those few days and now as a mother myself can’t imagine how difficult that time may have been for her. That speech really helped to shape the appreciation and even love that I have for the woman who gave birth to me.
And over the years since then, I’ve had times and moments where I’ve continued to think through my adoption. I was so excited when Jeremy and I started dating and I learned that he also had a sister who was adopted from Korea too. We’ve shared hearts about our adoption throughout the years and it’s something that I’ve been encouraged by. She actually took a trip back to Korea a few years ago and visited the orphanage that we were both at. I enjoyed living vicariously through her experiences and was excited to hear all that she learned.
Which brings me to today. This afternoon, I had a great session with a beautiful Senior girl who was also adopted. I think that’s what got me thinking about my adoption and wanting to take time to write a bit about it. Overall, I can say that I am so, so thankful to be adopted. I’m thankful for my birth mom and her sacrifice. And I’m so, so thankful for my Mom and Dad and the love that they’ve given to my sisters and I as their daughters. I think adoption is a beautiful thing and love to see that God creates families just how he wants them to be. I love the comparison, that God too has adopted us into His family, loving us as though we were his very own, because we are. And all that being said, I just want to thank you for taking time to read a bit about my adoption story.