Dec 022016
 

It has been a while since there has been any development about my birth family search. In all honesty I had put it on the back burner to simmer until I was ready to do anything else or until something else came up.

Back in August of last year, I posted on the results of a DNA test taken by my potential aunt. They were negative. I agreed to leave her alone from that point forward when she was no longer willing to answer questions that I had as it still seemed quite odd that the adoption agency in Korea had no doubts that it was her family that I came from. Still, I wanted to be respectful so I stopped communication with her.

Before she had agreed to all of this, I had done a bit of digging on FB for the daughters of the woman who is said to be my birthmother. She had two with the American man she married. I sent them both an FB message privately and did not receive any responses due to FB’s filtering system.

In June of this year, I did reach out to the man she married (the girls’ father) whom I also found on FB. Again, it was a long shot that it would even get seen.

Well, it did just the other day. One of the daughters sent me a message saying her father had gotten my message and then she checked hers. She said she was happy to answer any questions if she could. We have had a quick chat, but she does not know much more than what I know – unfortunately. There is one possible action, but she is pondering it for now.

In the meantime, her aunt HS is upset. Why?! I received a message from her basically threatening me to stop ‘pestering’ her family. Perhaps I am not yet ready to see her side of it, but as far as I am concerned I have not gone beyond her wishes. I made my initial contact years before she was willing to help me. It is not my doing that now is when the contact has come to some kind of result. Nor is it against our agreement that I would not contact her any further. I understand that perhaps she feels as if she took care of the situation and now she is involved in it again – Korean families – but as I nicely explained to her – this is MY story not hers. I have the freedom to explore further and if someone else in her extended family wants to help me, then that is his/her choice, not the aunt’s. I am being as respectful as I can and am not pushing for anything – just asking what people know and offering options or looking for help where possible.

Maybe I am wrong in this, but I am not yet seeing it.

So, that’s the new ‘drama’ in this interesting search. The real question is, if she is not my birthmother then what IS the story that brought our families together…? There is a story there somewhere. There are missing pieces for sure…, so the detective in me continues to let the clues fall into place. 🙂

~T 😀

Aug 092015
 

So…is the suspense killing you???? 😛

The results at the beginning of June revealed that…HS is NOT my biological family!!! 😮

Yep…after all that assumption that if I were to search I would find them, it seems that I am actually even less able to find my biological parents than those who were given zero information.

To be honest, I have to say that I felt relief when I found out. It was weighing on me thinking about having a huge extended family to contend with. Now, I realized that I am totally free of any blood responsibilities. Although I am an ‘orphan’ without any clue as to who my birth parents might be, I am also very much a free agent. 😉

Still, curiosity remains…all those crime shows and investigative thoughts have started to come into my mind. WHO are my birth parents then that they went through a great deal of effort to hide their true identity from me? Or, is there more to the Om family than meets the eye? Was KB also adopted so that she would not have the same DNA as HS, whom I did the test with? After all, HS did say that KB was the only one of the sisters who did not look like the others…could it be because she was not originally part of the Om family?

My paperwork clearly marks the Om name as my family name with their address. The father is the one who would know, but he passed away in 2001. So, now all I have is speculation. IF someone did use KB’s name for the paperwork, then why? Most South Korean families are poor or uneducated and giving up a child is not so complicated to take the time to hide an identity – just leave the poor baby at a police box or such if need be. So, who are these people that would make such an effort?

For most of my childhood I fantasized that I was a princess hidden away from the royal family’s enemies to protect me and someday I would be found to return to my rightful place. Yes, I have always had a vivid imagination – but now I may not be so far off!!! 😛 My mom says to go with a mafia story – my birth parents were wanted by the mafia crime syndicate and they gave me up to protect me from being killed. 😀

Or, a more plausible option is that my birth parents were North Korean or at least one of them was and were being helped by the Om family – thus being allowed to use KB’s name and her father’s on my paperwork. This would perhaps explain why I could not be put into the family registry – as noted on my paperwork.

Or, a new option could be that KB is not an Om…and the only way to find out the truth on that would be to get her DNA directly…but that is not really an option at this point.

Since updating HS with the DNA results, she has closed off connection – fair enough to her. I am sure that it was an upsetting ordeal to begin with and now that there is clear proof that we are not biologically connected, she does not owe me anything. Still, my curiosity is increasing….

Ultimately, though, I do not feel an emotional need to find the ‘truth’. I am totally okay with the freedom of no known blood ties anywhere. It goes with my personality and who I have become. Yet…I know that the story is not yet finished…..

-T 😀

Aug 072015
 

The end of May arrived and about once a week I would check the website for an update on the DNA results, though I knew they would also send an email.

Since both samples were under my account, I could switch back and forth on what was being revealed.

My mind was swinging back and forth on how I might feel about the results.

The idea of possibly having a biological family that was partially in Korea, partially in the States was enormous to me. I began to think about what would be expected of me should they really be my biological family. Would I build relationships with my potential birth mother’s sisters and her daughters – my half-sisters? Would I have to go to Korea to meet extended relatives there and deal with the shame or sympathy that would go along with that? What exactly would we become? Did I even want all of that?

People asked me what my gut was saying about the possible results. A part of me felt that this must be my biological family. Things seemed to fit together and I felt as if there must be a reason for why I would oddly wanted to live in Washington state when I was a teenager and the draw that I had/have for Hawai’i. One of my friends said that it was probably true and that they have a saying in Spanish that the blood draws the heart – meaning that there’s a chance my heart has always known. Still, without hard facts, there is no way to prove it and I’m a hard facts kind of person. Besides, how did I know if it was my mind and heart wanting the answer to be that it was indeed them?

On the other side, if this was not to be my biological family, then what did that mean for me? All of my life I had believed that I could find them easily with all of the information that I was given that other adoptees had not. If it wasn’t them, then where were my biological parents and who are they really? Maybe I am truly an orphan? Maybe my fairy tale story of being royalty and hidden away for my safety is actually true???? 😀

So, I really was torn between the two possibilities. I spoke with a coach about it, just to make sure that I really was not going to be unbalanced by one answer or another. It seemed I was going to be okay with whatever the results would be….

😀 -T

Aug 052015
 

To continue….

So, two years later, I received an email from HS inquiring as to how I was and apologizing for not writing sooner, but that she needed time to process. She asked me to connect with her on Kakao Talk, which is the Korean version of WhatsApp. So, I did.

We exchanged a few messages and pictures. She updated me on life and asked me to call her “Auntie” in Korean. Hm…this felt a bit too much for me! I still didn’t even know if she was my “family” or not. So, I tried and then approached the topic of DNA testing again.

She didn’t seem aware of how it works, but I explained that services like 23andme.com were simple and easy to do – just send in a spit sample. She agreed to do it.

Therefore, early in the year, I ordered two boxes to be shipped out – one for me and one for her. As they do not ship to the UAE, I planned to complete it while home visiting my parents over spring break at the end of March.

HS and I continued to exchange messages now and then, but what is there to say when you aren’t sure if there is a reason to build a relationship or not? I did get the sense that she was thinking that this might be a reason for why her sister, KB, had lost touch with reality. I also felt that it could explain some things. Still, the part of the story where no one seemed to know anything and the fact that her age didn’t match up was lingering in my mind. However, none of this would be all that strange in a country that doesn’t admit to ibyangs (adoptees) or the loss of face unless forced to. So, I was impressed that HS was willing anyway to give it a go.

We both sent off our samples, only to find that she needed to redo it. Thankfully, 23andme allows for a second sample for free if there is some error, so our results were delayed by another month or so. In the meantime, I tried to not think about it too much….

😀 -T

Aug 032015
 

I know that I promised some updates on my travels this summer, but as I have finally processed a bit about the results of my birth family search, I thought perhaps I would write on that today.

As I was just going back over this blog, I realized that my last posting on this topic was over three years ago!!! Eeks, a lot has happened since then.

So, let me pick up where I left off and then will continue this series as I go along.

—-

After being contacted by SWS that they had possibly found the sisters of my recorded birth mother, they were able to convince one of the sisters to speak with me:  Om Hyo Son.

I received her contact info and, as my posting at that time suggested, gave her a call while I was in the States. We had a short chat, even though her English isn’t the best. It turns out that she lives in Hawai’i and is the third daughter of four daughters – all living in the States. There are also two brothers (one older and one younger) who still live in Korea. The oldest sister was the other one that SWS (the adoption agency) had found, but she did not want to have anything to do with the matter and refused any communication or help.

So, luckily HyoSon felt some pity and sense of responsibility if I was truly a ‘released’ part of the family. Unfortunately, she said that her sister, the second oldest and woman said to be my birth mother (Om Kyung Boon), had had a mental breakdown about 10 years prior and she had not been able to communicate with her since. In fact, no one had (it sounds like she may have schizophrenia). Sadly, KyungBoon had needed to live in an assisted care facility, lost her husband to divorce and may or may not have contact with her two daughters – potentially my two half-sisters – with no one to help her. The eldest sister seemed to be the only one who visited or had knowledge of where she was located. Thus, HyoSon could not give me any more information. She did not know what else she could do at that point given that her eldest sister would not budge on not wanting to associate with me. Furthermore, no one believed it was possible since her sister would have only been 18 years old not 21 years old at the time of my birth, which means my papers were wrong. HyoSon also mentioned that in those days sometimes people paid to use someone else’s names on documents to protect themselves, but she said there was no way to know for sure. She felt that perhaps her father might know more, but he had passed away recently leaving no other options.

HyoSon left the door open, though after our conversation on the phone and gave me her email address. We exchanged a few messages where I suggested that we could have a DNA test done to confirm our possible blood connection. She claimed she didn’t know how this would be possible since she didn’t have any contact with KyungBoon.

Then, I didn’t hear from her again…until two years later!

😀 -T

Jun 222013
 

The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted…

_The Primal Wound:  Understanding the Adopted Child_ by Nancy Newton Verrier

Over a year ago, I found my first foster mother in the States. In our first telephone conversation she mentioned this book to me and recommended it. When I was in Korea in 2009, someone there had also mentioned this book saying how it really opened her eyes to her adoption experience. So, I ordered it and began to read it last summer.

Since it is a paper book, it took me longer to get through than if it had been on my e-reader. Also, it is not really one of those books that you can read straight through as it takes time to digest aspects of what Verrier is saying. So, finally last month I finished it.

The basic gist is that when a child is taken away from its biological mother there is a wound that develops that will never heal. For many adoptees this wound is deep and reopened regularly. The biological need to feel the connection to the person who provided shelter and security for nine months can never be replaced. Due to this wound being inflicted at such a young age, it affects every following relationship with females as well as future friends. One’s identity is also further changed from this broken connection.

There’s much more to explain, but that’s the overall theme. It was an eye-opening read as I had always felt that I was alone in how I felt about the world and the people in it. However, as I read, I realized I’m actually quite ‘normal’. 😉

I am taking the book home to give to my mom to read so that she may find some comfort in knowing that my distance from her growing up was not a personal affront to her as my mom, but just the mere fact that she was there. Maybe it will help. I also recommend my friends to read this as it may help them to understand me that much more. 😀

-T

 

 

Mar 202013
 

Yesterday, I read this article on the blog “Lost Daughters”.

It hit home in many ways as it relates to being caught between worlds and struggling to not only find my place, but to be accepted for the place that I have found.

There is one place in the world where I felt totally ‘normal’ and as if I belonged – Hawaii. Why? Because Hawaii has a mix of races and many mixed couples, it is normal to see people just as “Hawaiian” rather than caring where their origins are or who their families are. No one assumes that an older white man with an Asian woman is taking advantage of her or that there is something else seedy going on. It’s a piece of America, but with its own mixed culture. This is the kind of place I would like to eventually settle in – too bad the economy is still not great there….

In any case, the point is that no white man or woman and no Asian man or woman can fully understand the experience of an adopted Asian woman who grew up ‘white’ unaware that her outer appearance would never be accepted in the ‘white’ world. My family never treated me differently and I believe that they mean well when they say they just thought of me as ‘white’.

Sadly, this didn’t help to prepare me for the fact that everywhere I have traveled, I must explain myself as an American and that no my parents aren’t Asian. Or, that the less developed worlds would assume that I am a prostitute or in some kind of service industry because I am Asian on the outside. Some might say this isn’t about being adopted, but that’s a simplistic response.

Being adopted has caused me to be displaced inside and out. I’ve mostly come to terms with it, but it doesn’t change the struggling reality. The difference these days is that more adoptees are sharing and talking about the experiences without feelings of guilt for how we feel….

Maybe I’ve finally found a cause…. ;D

-T 😀

Mar 152013
 

So, I came up with a new URL name and will mull it over before checking to see if it is taken or not. It may become my new blog site title for when I finish my doctorate and have more time to write on topics I really want to cover… Adoptee Philosophy…still giving it some consideration…

Anyway, last night was a lot of fun. I attended the conference for a while, but as with all conferences the best part is meeting up with friends.

I had lunch with a friend from both graduate school and work in Japan. He is here applying for jobs and considering whether or not he’d like to move to this region. It was so wonderful to see him and to catch up. It’s hard to believe we met so long ago (about 8 years!) and still keep in touch. 😀

Then, I met some work colleagues/friends and we had a drink together, which was relaxing. Afterwards, we met up for drinks which led to dinner and so on. It was really nice. The weather is a perfect temperature for sitting outside and taking in the scenes of life. I will post some pics of that later.

However, the main point of this post was about one of our stimulating conversations about the world. Equality for all.

Usually, I prefer to sit and listen to people because I know that I don’t often agree with thoughts on life and the world coming from a different perspective. However, someone at the table asked me my thoughts and so I shared. This turned into a deeper discussion which I will try to re-tell here….

My colleague stated that he thinks that everyone should have their basic needs meet – food, water, shelter and education. That in providing for their basic needs, then everyone would have an equal opportunity to allow genius to reveal itself. Because so many people struggle for basic survival, society is preventing possible creativity and innovation to be lost.

I said that I disagree with any idea of equality. I believe that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and that many of the greatest so-called geniuses are such because they took nothing and made something. So, we discussed on this extensively.

My further point is that I think it is naive to say that everyone should be the same. It’s idealistic and unrealistic. The world is not fair. It hasn’t been since man separated from God. If you don’t believe in God, then it hasn’t been since the very existence of man or animals. To me, it is very much a privileged perspective to think that the world should be better, yet also extremely hypocritical unless one is actively working towards making that equality happen. It’s a first-world luxury to be able to sit around a table at a 5-star hotel with our drinks and stomachs full and then say that the world should be more fair….

There is a great deal more I want to say about this, but I will save it for another post. 😀

-T

Oct 082012
 

Lately, I’ve been considering a new future blog. It won’t happen until I finish my PhD because really I don’t need yet another blog or way to use up my time….

However, I’m torn. I’ve got this blog, my professional blog and started an ADPOV blog that lies dormant. I barely keep this one up and my poor professional blog has long been neglected….

Still…I’ve long wanted to have an adoption blog. Yet, I think why add another one to the millions already out there with people telling their adoption stories or advocating for adoption rights or expressing their angst towards the whole system? What would my blog bring to the arena that isn’t already out there? I’ve got time to think this through, but it’s in my heart to do it. I just need the right theme and purpose….

Anyway, another week begins and I already dread it…why? Dunno yet. 😉