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. ๐Ÿ™‚

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Aug 092015
 

So…is the suspense killing you???? ๐Ÿ˜›

The results at the beginning of June revealed that…HSย isย NOTย my biological family!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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, HSย 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!!! ๐Ÿ˜› 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 wasย 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 evenย 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 teenagerย 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???? ๐Ÿ˜€

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….

๐Ÿ˜€ -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….

๐Ÿ˜€ -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: ย 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!

๐Ÿ˜€ -T

Apr 032012
 

During the conference, I took an afternoon and called Diane.

It was so wonderful to talk to her! ๐Ÿ˜€

Unfortunately, my phone died mid-conversation and it took me a while to get it charged back up due to not bringing a plug converter…so much for all my packing experience! Anyway, it was like a light switched back on somewhere inside of me. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it was funny to hear stories about me and also to learn bits about her own life.

So, anyway, I will have to write more later after I have slowed down from my traveling and had more time to reflect. Just wanted to update on this for now.

๐Ÿ˜€ -T

Mar 232012
 

Well, remember back when I wrote saying that I was waiting to hear back from someone I had found on Facebook about being my 2nd or first US foster mother?

It was her!!! She wrote back and I have replied.

It seems surreal. I actually have no memory whatsoever of this person, but from the picture I look genuinely happy as opposed to my usual canned smile or laughing smile that shows up in all my photos (even today!). I mean I am a happy person, generally speaking, but there is something about the picture, maybe it’s the comfortable position I seem to be in her arms – I don’t know.

All these pieces of the puzzle of my life are falling into my hands/lap a bit faster and randomly than I would have ever expected. I am glad that I am not on a search full-time or I would be going mad. With work and travels to keep me distracted I can face the realities of this part of my life when it is generally convenient for me.

So, hopefully I can talk to Diane on the phone when I’m in the States, if not we’ve got email and Fb. From there, I don’t know what will come, but I’m open to any and everything.

๐Ÿ˜€ -T

Mar 222012
 

I am wondering if this falls under ‘Adoption Journey’ or if I should be starting a new thread entitled ‘The Search’…?

Anyway, I guess it all runs together in the end as MY LIFE!

So, the latest –

Three days ago now, I received an email from the social worker in Korea. She said that they have located the two sisters of my birth mother who are also living in the States.

WTF?

Did the whole family ย of women move there after me? I guess I won’t have to stress too much over communicating should that ever happen. Maybe that explains why I have a total block from learning the language.

So, anyway, the SWS is going to try to get in touch with them and see if some kind of contact can be made. We shall see how that goes, but considering that my biological grandmother denies that I could exist, I can only imagine what the sisters might think or believe. However, you never know what is known between sisters that is never told to the parents…. Keeping the fingers crossed.

In any case, I still go back and forth on whether or not I really want to talk to them or what I would say to them. I guess I’ll just cross that bridge when it comes.

Nothing else new on the domestic search, but next week when I’m back in the States, I’ll be making some calls, so watch this space for updates!

๐Ÿ˜€ -T

Mar 112012
 

So, now that I am ‘free’ish again, I am focusing my attentions on more details of my adoption journey.

Thanks to the world of Facebook, I have found a couple more possible people and written them messages.

Diane Ehnes – who was my foster mother between adopted family 1 and 2.

I found someone who could be her on Facebook and hope to hear something back from her.

Then, in my searching for the Kolthoffs, I found a Grace Kolthoff who was shown as a connection in my PeopleSearch online to James Kolthoff. The area this woman lives in seems the same, so I also sent her a Facebook message.

Also, I wrote to the SWS social worker in Korea again asking if there were more items in my file for viewing or not. I also expressed my growing need or desire to make some kind of contact with my birth family. There’s no real concrete reason other than a growing obsession and a sense that this is going to the be year of great changes regarding my past. Don’t have any real reason to think that either, but there it is….

As I was writing these messages, though, it did occur to me to consider the other side. Maybe my coming back will cause rifts, arguments, or at least disrupt the balance of everyday life that these people have formed. Is it too selfish of me to push it and to shove my way into their lives? Or am I deserving of these selfish moments to get to the beginning of the thread of my life?

Anyway, this has become my journal of this adventure as it seems I have trouble these days of putting my thoughts/feelings to pen and paper. So, we shall see how this adventure continues to play out…

๐Ÿ˜€ T