“There are many other places I would rather go” than Korea

Leave a comment
stories / travel

One example of a kad who finally learned more about her past and came to know herself in the process.  She posted this in the korean american adoptee forum on facebook, where there is a lot of support around kad issues, in private with only other kad.  [Reprinted with permission from the author.]

As a self proclaimed recovering PERFECTIONIST I can tell you, I have read a million Self Help/Development Books. A seeker…. gaining much from different books through the years but not quite finding the answers to what I was looking for. Why did an emptiness remain? I have discovered that a deep sense of shame for being Korean and given up for adoption, was at the root of my emptiness (and my need to be perfect). Most of my life I had no interest in traveling to Korea. When asked I would say “there are many other places I would rather go.” I had a mile long list of reasons I could not go to Korea. It was reading courageous stories from KADS on this site, that inspired me to be vulnerable. For me, traveling to Korea has been the most courageous thing I have ever done and continues to be the source of my greatest healing. I wholeheartedly recommend this trip <3
Spiritual Journey to Korea with Full Scholarship.

– Amy Davis

I love that this story has a happy ending of course.  I truly appreciate the korean allies that realize their connection with us and provide help.  And I can’t help but wonder when i hear kads say they have no interest in Korea, as she did, whether it is just a lack of opportunity, fear of the unknown, letting sleeping dogs lie, or truly indifference. Best of all, I love that she was encouraged by meeting with other kads in the forum, getting the support she needed, and that let her take the next step.  All that, packed into this short paragraph.

A letter from a father

Leave a comment

This is a beautiful letter from a birth father.  I think more than dreaming that one’s birth parents might be wealthy nobility, perhaps adoptees dream most about getting a letter like this – that simply states that while we were given up for adoption, we were not forgotten, and gives reassurance that we still occupy a space, hopefully a big one, in our parents’ hearts.

Though i hold no hope to ever know any birth family, i never really think about my birth father, only about my mother.  But, i have such respect for a father that could write this letter, even at 86 years old, that it makes me think of my own.  Words have the power to change, and this one mixes up everything inside me.  I hope this father knows the powerful healing and beauty he must surely have brought to his daughter with this act.  In some ways, it is only a beginning, but still this letter is an absolute good. (Reprinted with generous permission from the daughter.)

To my cute daughter Heekyung Park,

It was 37 years ago when I sent you to the States. My health was not good and my friend introduced Germany’s ambassador’s wife to me. Through her, you were able to be put up for adoption.

I should express my sincere gratitude to your adoptive parents but because the US is such a far country, it won’t be easy. Please give my thanks to them on behalf of me.

It seems you have had many difficulties. Life is a challenge itself. Marriage is also something that should be done carefully and not in a hurry. It is good for you to have a daughter with a husband “David …”. It is nice to have another woman who was adopted from Korea. If you know Korean, let’s have a long conversation over phone.

I taught Japanese at a college for more than 15 years, and now I stay home after retirement. Your mom was sick and I don’t know how to reach her. I am healthy like you and enjoy fishing at sea. If you are like me, you will have good health. I was devastated without knowing how to contact you. So when I heard from you and received your letter and pictures, I was very happy.

However, I am worried that you forgot Korean. You – Hee kyung Park – are everything to me. I am so relieved to find my daughter. I look forward to meeting you. When we meet together, let’s look back at our life history. I can’t visit my hometown, Kaesong since it is located in North Korea. I am 86 years old and you are 44 years old. You are the only family to me. So please do not forget me. I wish your success there. If you send the letter to the agency like you did last time, they will translate it. Please take care of yourself. I wish you and your family good health. Keep in touch.

2016. 12

Jung Hwa Park, your father from Seoul

Entire book of international adoption birth searches

Leave a comment
history / research

As far as I know, the only one of it’s kind: a book of narratives entirely about birth searches (not all kad).

Many intercountry adoptees share in this paper how useful it would have been if they had been able to seek input and guidance from those who have travelled this path before.  My hope is this paper will help to alleviate this need.

Search and Reunion for InterCountry Adoptees

“Adoption services” shouldn’t overlook adoptees!

Leave a comment
commentary / news

The sentiment in the title seems so obvious, yet this insightful reflection on intercountry adoption policy in Australia tells a familiar, sad story told around the world: millions spent and lots of focus on new adoptions, nothing spent on existing adoptees.

Overall by 2019, the Australian government will have spent $33.6m yet to date, not one cent has been spent on providing services for existing adult intercountry adoptees who’s numbers are far greater than the number of children who will possibly enter the country in the next 3 years

The author recounts how she was the only intercountry adoptee on the intercountry adoption panel – typical, though perhaps one representative could be measured as progress.  Birth mothers were completely left out initially, as is also typical.  So, not surprising after all that the government focus ignores the large, obvious constituency.

When will Intercountry Adoptee Services be provided by Federal Government?

The conversation

Leave a comment

Having “the conversation” with your adoptive parents that you are interested in your adoption history and possibly birth family can be a extremely anxious moment that is difficult to express.  It is on the same spectrum of coming out as lgbtq to one’s family, and i have heard of families reacting just as badly to adoptees as others have to gay children.  (Not trying to compare the two, just giving context.)

I had a very light version of it at christmas 2015.  I have a great relationship with my parents, and i was only expressing my new interest in volunteering in kad organizations and learning kad history – yet i contemplated for a long time about what i wanted to say in advance, and had to make an effort to keep from shaking during the conversation.  I was not interested in searching for my birth family, but i’m not sure i could’ve told them if it were true.  Fortunately, it went smoothly.

So, the emotions pouring from Dan Sieling’s post on facebook are something many of us can relate to.  (Printed with his permission.)

I had what quite possibly may have been the scariest conversation of my life yesterday.

I told my (adoptive) Mom and Dad how I truly feel about my (natural / biological) Mom.

(I mentioned my natural / biological Dad too, but my healing work has really been focused on my feelings around the loss of my natural / biological Mom, so I focused on her for this conversation.)

I told them both how much I miss her, how sad I’ve been to not be with her and not to have been raised by her, and how much I wish to find and have a relationship with her, while also telling them how much I love and appreciate them for all of the love and care they have given me and continue to give me as my adoptive parents.

I told them how scared I was to reveal those feelings to them because I thought they might receive such a revelation as a betrayal and feel angry at me or deeply hurt. My inner child was afraid of getting thrown out and/or experiencing abandonment again for expressing his true feelings about his (natural / biological) Mom.

I could not have been more surprised in the best way possible by my adoptive parents’ reaction.

They told me that they always supported me in my love for my natural Mom. They told that they always hoped I would one day find her and have a relationship with her. They told me that they understand that being raised by her would’ve been the ideal situation and that they did and are doing the best they could/can to give me the best life possible as their (adoptive) son.

I started tearing up and gently sobbing right on the spot.

Years and years of repressed feeling released in one conversation.

I could not have asked for better adoptive parents. I don’t even feel fully justified putting the label “adoptive” in front of the word “parents”. They *are* Mom and Dad to me, just like my natural parents are Mom and Dad to me. They’re just different types of Moms and Dads.

Liz Lochridge Sieling and Jim Sieling, I love you both. Very much. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and continue to do for me. I am forever grateful to you.

November 16, 2016: Adam Crapser deported, Holt International held 60th anniversary gala

Leave a comment

[Adam’s] life story highlights the failings of an adoption system that put him in the homes of one set of parents who abandoned him and another that physically abused him and other adopted children… 41-year-old Crapser arrived in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday morning aboard a commercial airline flight escorted by ICE deportation officers.

A sad, horrible moment that creates an permanent, ugly mark in the history of international adoption.  More here.

Meanwhile, Holt International commenced it’s 60th anniversary gala on the same day: https://www.holtinternational.org/events/first-wave-reunion-rsvp.php