I was born in Seoul, South Korea.
At five months old, I was adopted.
At the time, I did not have a choice whether I wanted to be adopted or not.
I often think about what my "alternate life" would have been if I stayed in Korea.
In the U.S., my family primarily consisted of my parents and myself.
After a few years of city life, we moved to the woods of rural Connecticut, where I became more familiar with chopping wood and wildlife than concrete and culture.
I was happy.
I didn't think much about my surroundings or the relative racial isolation.
My adoptive mom was from Taiwan, so I was exposed to a bit of Chinese culture growing up. I tried hard to attach myself to it, maybe an unconscious longing to be a part of something.
Once I got adopted, there were multiple challenges I had to overcome, including loneliness.
There's a difference between being the only child and a lonely child. I don't think having a sibling would have solved my loneliness. I still feel pangs of loneliness as an adult; even though I'm surrounded by people who want to spend time with me. I feel conflicted between wanting to spend time with people, even when it's emotionally draining and pushing everybody away.
Over the years my perspective of adoption has changed from being grateful that I was adopted to a more critical view of the system and the inadvertent erasure of culture that can happen despite people's best efforts.
Everything changed once I got adopted. It's hard to explain to others what being transplanted feels like when you can barely describe the soil you came from. The contrast between Korea and the U.S. is vast.
I am proud that I followed my intuition.
I've always been a strong-minded, stubborn person.
I pursued a degree and a career path that not only fulfills me, but also makes me happy.
I was once asked, “What is currently holding you back?”
I answered, “My self-esteem will always be my greatest enemy.”