In my 32 years of existence, I thought I was the only one experiencing these feelings of alienation and loss.
The grief can be unbearable, and I want other adoptees to know that they are not alone.
I was born in Sungnam City, South Korea, and given up the day after my birth in the winter of 1985. I was placed in a foster home, arranged by Holt Adoption Agency in Sungnam City and was cared for by a woman named Mrs. Han, Jeom Soon. I stayed with her for exactly three months until my adoption was finalized.
In May of 1985, I was placed with my adoptive family in Beaverton, Oregon, a suburb just outside of Portland. My adoptive parents are Caucasians who had three biological sons before adopting me. They wanted another child—specifically, a girl—as my adoptive mom was unable to have more children of her own.
I grew up with a great deal of love and kindness, and had a very happy childhood. However, when I reached my teenage years, the effects of being adopted started to take a toll on me.
Being adopted had never meant that I looked different.
It all started at our school. Kids would comment on my ethnicity and point out the differences. I hated being known as the "adopted Asian kid" at school.
I just wanted to blend in, be "normal," unnoticed. Issues of rejection, abandonment, and loss started to surface. I was angry, depressed, and lonely.
Since then, I’ve spent the majority of my life feeling that I had to prove myself to others.
I had a constant feeling that I was always second best. I've struggled with depression, feelings of insecurity, and the loss of connection and relationship with my Korean family.
I've worked on myself with the help of an amazing counselor who had experience with other adoptees. It has been a long journey of self-acceptance, forgiveness, and challenges.
Now, I’ve shed the broken shell of myself, and accept the love and support from those around me.
It has taken me a long time to get to this point of healing and contentment. It is not easy for a wounded soul, such as an adoptee.
I recognize that I would have never been allowed the opportunities I've been given if I had grown up in poverty. My adoptive parents built a sustainable life for me, and I’ve been able to rise above the hand I was dealt. I've been able to pursue higher education, relationships of my choice, and travel around the world.
Recently, I got in touch with my birth parents and family in Korea. On December 8th, 2016 I found out that my Korean family had received my letter searching for them. Since then, we have exchanged several e-mails and letters via mail weekly. I will be traveling to Korea in a few weeks to go meet with them.
My goals for this year include:
Successfully start at a new university
Find a new job related to my major
Continue working on staying fit
Continue building and growing my new relationship with my Korean family
Don’t let anything hold you back from pursuing your dreams.