Archive for February, 2007

On Adoptive Parents

Nothing touches me so deeply as to know that my mother looked at me through her own love and thought, “I wish her mother in Korea was not missing this.” It makes my heart burst, it makes me want to cry with joy and pain, it makes me realize that we could be connected on this. I know my mother often had thoughts and emotions attached to what my first mother was missing and I feel forever connected to her for this. It is different than my KAD to KAD connection. It is amazing to be able to share, in a small way, my adoptee loss with my second mother (it appears that I never had a foster mother in Korea) and other mothers whom are parenting a child from such a loss. It is not understanding that we have (that I have with other KADs) – my mother can never understand my loss as an adoptee, just like I can never understand her gain as an adoptive mother – it is just an indescribable connection.  

This is a connection that I have always felt, but have recently realized through reading Third Mom’s blog. Actually, more so from reading her posts about her kids. I found myself reading through these posts and getting teary eyed. Maybe I was just imagining this, but it felt like my own second/third mom could have written something like this. I began to wonder if her kids read her blog and thought about how lucky they are to know that she feels this way.

I have met a lot of adoptive parents in my day and many of them seemed to not have any thoughts, connection, or even positive feelings for their child’s first parents. One such woman spoke at a conference I once attended. It was a session on open adoption and I attended in the hopes to figure out what exactly adoptive parents think about their child’s first parents.  This woman (husband was there with her – but remained fairly silent –  as well as their 3 year old blond hair blue eyed daughter from adoption) spoke very bluntly about their “open adoption experience.” It was all about the “benefits” that she had from her experience and I couldn’t help but to think about how selfish this bitch is. She stated that when they first decided to adopt she went to an open adoption agency in search of a closed adoption. She held strong with the agency social workers stating that she would not agree to more than photos and letters. Soon after her enrollment into the program she was matched with a pregnant woman who had 5 more months to go in her pregnancy. She stated that she then told her social worker that if she were to waste the next 5 months of their life with this woman who may end up just keeping her baby (I am not using quotes here – but I am wording this how she worded it!) that they would need to meet this woman so that they are sure that she can sit face to face with them and tell them she is going to do this. So they decided to meet. At this meeting this speaker stated that she began to really feel bad for this woman, who was really down on her luck. Speaker went on to say that they soon after realized that if they were going to be this child’s “forever family” that they should be attending all the prenatal doctor appointments – so that is what they did. They were sure to obtain all of the sonogram pictures for themselves. Speaker then skips to today and very matter-of-factly states, “the last time we saw her was when my baby was born.” At this point in the session, I was busting to scream out THIS IS NOT AN OPEN ADOPTION YOU IDIOTS! but I was able to contain myself. Speaker went on to answer some questions. One of the questions was, “do you wish that your daughter’s birth mother kept in touch with you?” To which speaker said a very fast and blunt, “No!” She went on to explain that she never really even thinks about her anymore and wouldn’t want her in their life now anyway because they don’t really have the same social circles <insert her stupid giggle here>. Another questioner asked, “If she does come back and wants to meet your daughter would you let her?” To which speaker said, “I don’t really think that would be fair to <insert her daughter’s name here>. She wouldn’t even know who she is and it would be confusing to her.” She went on to say that the only thing they regret is that they still live in the same are of the state as this baby productionist and she often worries that they would run into her at the mall and would be forced into an open adoption meeting. Bitch!

But I must remember that not all parents are like the above speaker. Not all are as selfish as she is. In my opinion, there are two categories for adoptive parents — #1 being parents who should only be allowed to reproduce and if they can’t, they really need to remain childless; and #2 being parents who should not be allowed to reproduce (like Third Mom) because adoptees deserve a chance at a parent like her. My own mother has many parenting flaws, but I do believe that she stills falls into category #2. I cling to that belief like my life depends on it – in the hopes that she will come back to me and realize how much I value her pain. How much I don’t feel stolen. How much I don’t regret being her child.

February 25, 2007 at 11:22 am 20 comments

돼지의 년!

Well, it’s my year. Year of the pig. I could really use a favorable year, so I am pretty hopeful. 

I remember pretty clearly when I found out I was a pig. On a paper menu at the Chinese restaurant with my family. “What am I??? What am I?? Read mine!!” I begged my sister. She stumbled over word after word of my “Zodiac Personality” as I listened. Yep… sounds like me pretty much. Content, I sat back into my chair. “You’re a pig!” my sister announced again, “You’re not kosher at all!” My parents chuckled amongst themselves and then redirected the conversation to “so, how was school today?”

I remember it bothered me a bit. Being a pig. I was always grateful that living Jewishly came easy to my parents, so that they were great role models to me on how it is to be content with your Jewish identity. I had an excellent Jewish education. Raised in a Shomar Shabbos/Kosher home. Summers were spent at Zionist summer camps and in Israel visiting family. Raised speaking Hebrew and Yiddish (with my grandparents). To the people who knew my family – members of our Shul, students at my Jewish Day School (JDS), and friends from camp, my mother’s Haddasah sisters, and just about anyone in our neighborhood – I was a Jewish girl. There was no question about it.

Outside the world that was built around me, it really wasn’t that much of a challenge to prove my Jewish identity. Challenge me! I am confident that I can prove my Jewishness on many different levels. Being a pig was the last thing on that menu that I wanted to be associated with, but not because it was trayf. Maybe because they are known to be dirty, stinky, and dumb… in other words, they are often misunderstood.  I have always felt this soft tug. I knew exactly how to be comfortable in my own shoes as a Jewish female – but I knew … I know almost nothing about what it means to be a Korean female. And although I didn’t want to be a pig … I always took compliments from “you dress like a FOB” and “damn, you are such a gook!” One of the best compliments I ever got was this…

John:  you look
John: VERY korean
Jules: lol
Jules: thanks!
John: lol
John: yeah
Jules: VERY korean huh? just cause hanbok?
John: no
John: on a closer inspection
John: of your facial structure
John: you look korean as hell 

Wow! A Korean guy — saying that I look VERY Korean. That’s half the battle though – looking the part. Feeling the part is another story. So when Jewish parents whom have adopted an Asian child ask me about my Jewish identity and my comfort level with being Jewish and they share with me their concerns about how they too can raise an Asian child to be a proud Jew, I wish I could talk instead to them about what I am missing. About what my parents couldn’t teach me by their example. About what it’s like to live in my skin. Because it’s not about raising your child to feel the pride that you feel – being who you are and knowing what you know. It’s about raising your child to be what you cannot be – never will be – and know nothing about. It will come easy, teaching them to be a proud Jew (as long as you are!). The challenging part is teaching them to be proud of what you are not – Asian.

This being said, I am not suggesting that if you are Jewish and raising an Asian kid that you do not raise them Jewish. Seriously, no one wants you to go way out of the way to be what you are not. But why so much concern about raising your different race child to be the same as you religiously? That part will come easy. It’s the harder part that you may be ignoring. It’s the part that you can’t do and that will need to be done independently by your child or not at all. It’s what I resolve with myself to accomplish this year. It’s my year. Year of the pig!

새해 복 많이 받으세요!

kosherpig.jpg

February 18, 2007 at 8:32 pm 5 comments

Lessons Learned from a Korean Ajumma

Lemons are useless unless you have a stomach ache.

Blankets are not clean unless they are dried in the sun and are stiff.

Just because a sofa has a slip cover does not mean it no longer needs to be protected.

If it is a good idea, it was probably done by Koreans 1,000 years before anyone else and 2,000 year before the Japanese.

Don’t be afraid to insult someone by accident.

When in a crowded place, it is better to push than be pushed.

A dog should wear a sweater, a small bow in it’s hair, and be reprimanded with a swinging broom.

Squatting for an hour is the only way to make kimchi – sitting is for whimps!

Insulting an Ajumma’s food is the worst crime one can commit, unless you are saying it is too spicy – that is really a compliment.

Eating a meal without a small soup is not healthy.

Sweating out a fever is better than taking Tylenol.

When the doctor says “do not eat anything” what he really means is “sneak some jook.”

White kids look cute, but are really badly behaved.

Chicken is health-food, chicken with ginseng is better than antibiotics.

Excluding rice and eating fish instead of meat is a form of Korean Weight Watchers.

There is nothing a special health-food “drink” cannot fix.

Cook up a storm when you are expecting guests – starting early in the morning and going all day without a rest – and then when they arrive and fuss over your hard work, down play it as “just a little something to eat.”

When you give a gift, make sure to announce what it is before the person can unwrap it – that’s the modest way to gift-give.

Wash out the inside of your fridge on a regular basis.

If you are half-listening to someone and then realize that you have no clue as to what they are rambling on about, a simple “auh” will do and they never have to know you were not listening.

If someone is talking to you while you are watching your favorite K-drama, that is grounds for a slap.

Playing Mah Jong is serious business and your reputation is built upon it.

Exercise should be done early in the morning and in a plastic one-piece suit to encourage sweating.

Stretching should consist of fast and abrupt, jerking movements.

Don’t feel obligated to talk to your husband just because you are sitting in the same room in silence for over an hour with him.

If you love someone, you make sure they eat after they say they are full.

There is no cultural divide that DHL cannot bridge.

Missing church is a sin and grounds for gossip.

Never give in to the idea that non-Korean food is good.

Feel a sense of responsibility towards others.

Check on your child when they are sleeping in the middle of the night, no matter how old they are.

Embrace everyone. Love others with all your heart.

February 14, 2007 at 10:48 pm 3 comments


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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