This article has been going around adoptee circles. Media likes to portray these “twins/siblings separated at birth and reunited” stories as heart-warming, but I find them heart-wrenching. It’s so sad that the families were torn apart in the first place. The heart-warming angle feels ignorant and superficial; you have to think deeper about what the separation says about the politics of adoption and family preservation.
This article by my friend Matthew Salesses mentions so many of the themes that come up in my regular conversations with other KADS, mainly the absence we carry with us and the han we unwillingly pass onto our children.
And here is the full documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg62g95Hv7Y
There are Korean adoptees who think this about their birth families: “f*ck them, they abandoned me. If they want to meet me they can come find me.” I wish I felt this way. Some Korean adoptees reject their birth culture entirely. Some choose not to raise their children with any iota of Korean culture, instead choosing to raise them as white or Chinese, etc. (“We are a Chinese family–you are Chinese.”) I wish I could be this way. But it’s just not in me.
I hate Korea right now. I think the country is f*cked up. I wish I could have rejected it before it rejected me. Again. I don’t want anything to do with it anymore. I don’t want to learn Korean or watch Korean movies or dramas. I don’t want to talk about it or learn traditions or culture. I don’t want anything to do with it. (Except my friends. I love my friends there.)
Be careful, Korea, by rejecting and sending away 250,000 of your own babies you could be creating an army of hate against you.
I sit here listening to Lauryn Hill (Ex-factor–girl you get the pain so spot on) and feeling like that scene from the Godfather – “Just when I think I’m out they pull me back in.”
I just got off the phone with oppa in Korea who I’ve known for almost 15 years. I felt a need to tell him about recent news with my birth family search. Like other friends of mine in Korea he’d been deep in the trenches with me when I’d been searching in 2009 and 2010. And I’d had a beautiful moment with his mother at his home during a visit where she empathized with me and ended up revealing to him family history he’d never heard. Continue reading
After hearing from the policeman that he was unable to find my birth family I had lunch with a KAD friend to talk out what had happened. I needed to talk to someone who understood birth family search because he’d been through it too. In the hour that we spoke to I ping-ponged through a series of emotions: resignation, hope, anger, frustration, hope, rage, acceptance. Birth family search doesn’t often fit in a neat package, and for me I was all over the place.
In talking to him I realized a few things.
The other misconception is that people think of adoption in black and white terms. You are pro- or anti-adoption. You’re a happy adoptee or an angry adoptee. It is much more complicated than that, as you know. People reduce adoption to the triad — the child, the birth parents and the adoptive parents — but it’s much bigger: it’s about social workers and agencies and governments and international systems and capitalism and racism and sexism and religion and war… There are all of these powerful forces swirling around, and you can’t disentangle international adoption from them.