Adoptee

March 24, 2006 at 4:16 pm 4 comments

I am interning at an adoption agency and this has made a lot of my personal experiences as an adoptee surface. I never thought I cared so much about the topic!

Today, a family came into the agency after just picking up their new daughter from the airport (from Korea). It felt so weird looking at that scared little baby girl. I wonder if I acted like that when I came over? Her tiny little dress with American flag design on it seemed so inappropriate to me. Why did they put that on her? Is it like to prove she is theirs? Like "she is AMERICAN even though we know she doesn't look it!" Made me feel bad for her. She couldn't keep her eyes off me. I wonder if it was because I am Korean too? Is she old enough to know that??? Is she wondering why her life has changed so dramatically in the past few days??

I wish I could remember what I was thinking when I first came to the USA from Korea. I wish I could know and could tell her (even though she is just a baby), "hey kid, I know what you're going through!"

I look at this kid and I really hope that all these new efforts to educate parents on adopting babies from other countries will pay off for her. Can it really make a difference for her?? Will she really have it easier? Does she miss her birthmother, like I do sometimes? Or maybe she does more, because it is all still fresh to her? A piece of me aches for this baby and a piece of me is so happy for her…

My mom told me this story: When I was a little girl — around 5 years old, my mom was telling a friend about when she gave birth to Sara (my older sister). My mom then noticed that I was listening and didn't want me to feel bad .. so she turned the story into "and when we first adopted Julia…." She said that I sat and listened and listened and then said, "I wish I wasn't adopted." She said that she almost broke out in tears and asked "why?" And I said, "I wish I was born, like Sara. Not adopted!"

On the one hand – it's a cute funny story. On the other hand.. it's sad. I really thought I was never born. That no one huffed and puffed and labored for me to come into this world. No one cried when they first saw me — like they did for Sara. For me… my life started much later. Cheated out of the miracle of birth and the first 8 months of my life. It all seemed unfair.

Still, even today, I wish I knew the wonder of my birth. I wish I was not the product of the pain of secondary infertility for my mother. I just wish someone – who was there – could tell me the story… even if it was third-person account. Did she cry? Was I kissed? Was I cold and puffy and someone held me close and warmed me up? Did I look into her eyes and did she return my glance?

"Children thirst to hear where they came from…

they need to know that they were desired,

that their birth was a wonder, and they were always

the object of love and care."

-Marcelle Clements

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Entry filed under: Adoption.

Ode to BJs Plan B

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John  |  March 24, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    …that’s an amazing post…

    simple.

    amazing.

    a hundred thousand heads are nodding in agreement…in unison…in understanding…

    Reply
  • 2. harlowmonkey  |  May 30, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    Hi Julia,
    I found your blog through the wide world of adoptee blogs out there. I am enjoying it a lot.

    I am also a Korean American adoptee, and in school for social work. Your posts about working as an intern for an adoption agency ring familiar, since I also interned at both a private adoption agency and a state-county run agency.

    I am currently finishing up my MSW, should be done in August. I’d love to talk more – or have you visit my blog, harlowsmonkey.wordpress.com.

    I will look forward to reading more of your thoughts . . .
    Jae Ran

    Reply
  • 3. Jenna  |  April 27, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Julia,

    yes, I’m sure that so many adopted children are nodding their heads in agreement with you. Only you who are adopted know what it feels like to not know the story of your beginnings. I am mama to two little boys who will know their birth stories…how I huffed and puffed and cried to bring them into the world. And my husband and I hope and pray that we can give a home and our love to a little girl one day. This post made me think about it hard and you brought me to tears with your thoughts. I guess that I am blessed that my husband and I are serving in the Marine Corps and thus live amongst a sort of “thrown together” group of people…all here because of necessity, we have discovered that family is where you find it. It does not have to be made up of biological or blood ties. It is made up of LOVE. It is made up of RESPECT. It is made up of COURAGE to look at each other and love each other and accept each other even when you are angry or hurt. It also is made up of smiles and laughter and wonder and knowing that we are all blessed to have one another.

    God Bless you!

    Jenna

    Reply
  • 4. Margie  |  May 1, 2008 at 7:59 am

    About a year after P arrived, I was looking back through the first photos we have of him and noticed that for about the first three months he had a puzzled, searching look on his face. His little eyebrows were furrowed in many of them, as if he were peering at everything.

    I know now that he was grieving – for his foster family certainly, as he had spent the most time with them, for his mother too I’m sure. And for the smells and sounds and sights of Korea.

    As he grew up, though, he kept Korea at arm’s length. He had many Asian friends, and was comfortable with his identity, but didn’t like calling too much attention to it or focusing too much time on it. But now in college, he has embraced being Korean and Asian with a passion.

    It was always there. I can see it in his furrowed brow in those first photos.

    Thank you for a beautiful post.

    Reply

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Julia’s Jam

It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog. ~

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