Summertime

I know I have been MIA a little, but there are a few things in the works that I’m very excited to share. As some of you know, this summer I will be traveling back to Korea for the International Korean Adoptee Association Gathering, also known as IKAA. It’s a conference for Korean adoptees and their families. I will be speaking in one of the conference sessions about parenting as an adoptee. I have not been to this conference before and am very excited to meet so many other adoptees and see some friends as well. Truthfully, I am a little nervous because I am not a big fan of public speaking, never have been, so I guess I’ve got to start practicing and coming up with my outline.

It has been a while since I have updated you on my biological father, appa search. There really isn’t any new information, he has been contacted and has a similar story to the one on my Korean adoption papers. For a match to be confirmed, there will need to be a DNA test and from there it will be up to him whether or he wants to connect or not. For now, my emotions have calmed down a lot. I haven’t been as anxious as I have been and although I have so many unanswered questions, I know that whatever is supposed to happen will and me worrying about it won’t make it any better. For now, I am just focusing on my trip and my session preparations.

This weekend I will also be traveling to Atlanta to be interviewed by a fellow Korean adoptee for her podcast. Once the podcast is released, I will be sure to attach a link. She already mentioned that she will be taking the summer off and my episode will be released in the fall.

If there is any new information on my birth father search or the podcast episode, I will be sure to update everyone.

 

-J

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How to Support a Spiraling Adoptee

I know that I have been posting a lot about my thoughts and reactions to episodes of Grey’s Anatomy…sorry but this one is inspired by that too. As Jo Karv’s story continues to progress, I have been very interested to see how her relationship with Alex is going to be. For those that don’t watch the show, Alex started out as an asshole, I hated him. His character was snarky, mean and a gave people chlamydia. However as the seasons progress we start to notice why Alex is as angry as he is and why his world view is different. If you don’t watch the show Alex comes from a home where he basically raised his siblings. His dad had walked out and his mother had untreated mental illness. Alex was always the caretaker. Throughout this series you start to notice that he typically chooses women who need care taking.

Alex has always been able to “take care of things” when people in his life fall apart, he is there to pick them back up, put them  back together and get them on their feet again while losing little pieces of himself along the way. This episode, Jo continues to push Alex away, she is hyper sensitive to things that are going on in the hospital and Alex continues to try and support her.

Towards the end of the show, Alex is in the chief’s office and he starts yelling “I don’t know what’s wrong. I can’t ask what’s wrong. I don’t know how to fix it.” He is so upset that he has been pushed out of  everything happening with Jo. He doesn’t know what is all going on through her mind and he doesn’t even know how he can help her.

For those that have interacted with adoptees, you may have figured out that we carry a lot of baggage with us, some have A LOT more suitcases than others but either way we have suitcases nonetheless. Next I bet you’re wondering if we ever completely unpack our suitcases and find some kind of balance or “normalcy”. I’m not sure. I haven’t gone through my entire life yet. I’ll let you know when I get there.

Since I have started on this journey, I have really relied on the friendships I have made throughout the KAD community. We know the issues we all struggle with and sometimes we even hear more baggage then we ever thought were possible for another human, let alone an adoptee to carry. Whether EVERY SINGLE adoptee wants to admit it or not, we ALL trauma, even if it is something we have never addressed or come to admit but it is ALWAYS there. There have been numerous studies that show no matter the age of a child, even from infancy separation from the bio mother changes the way that child develops. Numerous studies have shown that this separation causes a lack of production with a neurotransmitter of flight or fight and it has been linked to anxiety as well as depression.

On top of that add in some abandonment issues and you’ve got the work cut out for you. For those adoptees that are aware of all of this, we know it’s a lot, we know there is a lot of work to be done to handle all of our issues and maintain normalcy in our relationships. We don’t need to be told, we already are aware. We know we have issues. Do we always want to talk about them? No, especially since not everyone is able to handle the complexity of our issues.

How do you support us then if we don’t want to discuss with you? First, give us our space. Throughout the journey of finding my birth family, I have gone through a ton of emotions. I have been at highest high and I have been at some pretty low lows. To try and describe it even now is difficult to put into words. As I’ve been on this journey I have reached out to other KADs, specifically ones that have already gone through the search and have either reunited or have found their birth parents but the parents do not want any contact. For lack of a better excuse, it’s just easier. These people just know what you’re feeling. You don’t have to explain what’s going on in your head, they just get it.

Sometimes I want to talk to other people about it, some of my closest friends that I have known for decades but there isn’t that level of empathy. They can listen and hear us but sometimes that isn’t enough. Sometimes I need someone else to understand what emotions I’m feeling to reassure me that I’m not alone, that these feelings are as normal as possible and I am not driving myself crazy. Please, if an adoptee you love is spiraling and doesn’t want to talk to you, give us our space. Most of us will talk when ready.

Second, know our triggers. Whether or not we are aware of them, we’ve got them. I’ve slowly been trying to identify mine. When you add in the abandonment piece to the initial trauma add in a few more triggers. For me personally, if you start to pull away from me, I’m done and I can tell you exactly what I start doing. I pull away from you and withdraw emotionally. I go into self protection mode because the story in my head is that you are obviously going to leave if you are pulling away from me. Most likely after that I self sabotage and make sure you leave…and there are many different ways that I have done this over the years.

For adoptees FOMO or fear of missing out is all too real. We feel as if we are constantly missing out on something, if someone doesn’t include us, we jump to fear or assume that person is no longer interested in being friends with us. It sounds so stupid when I type it out but it’s a very real and true thing. Because of our trauma, because of the way our adoptee brains are wired, we immediately react (flight or fight) when we are triggered the way we always have, our brains respond sometimes without us knowing why, it almost goes into auto-pilot. Sometimes we are able to control it and sometimes it gets the best of us.

The ways that you can support us is just to be there. Give us some reassurance that everything is okay and that you are there for us. Personally, I know that when there is conflict in any of my relationships, friendly or romantic, I need that reassurance that even though something isn’t good right now that it doesn’t mean I am any less important or cared about by them, a little goes a long way.

I’m sure there are thousands of ways adoptees need support. These are just a few of the things that I need, things that I have come to identify. If you think of anymore leave a comment.

 

Always,

J

Thoughts on Jo Wilson on Greys Anatomy

For those of you who have followed this season of Grey’s Anatomy you have slowly follow Jo’s story. From her very rough start of living out of her car, her extremely abusive ex-husband, to now where she is happily married, about to start a family and starting her birth family search. I wasn’t sure if Shonda would ever give us more of a backstory about her but thankfully this season we start to see Jo’s story and specifically her adoption journey unfold as she and Alex discuss starting their own family.

*SPOILER ALERT*

This past episode we got to see Jo after what seemed like a while to process the brief interaction between her and her biological mother. Over the past couple of episodes we have seen her withdraw from Alex and the rest of her friends, she hasn’t been work, drinks more than we typically see her drink and appears jilted, angry, numb and depressed. When she emerges from her bed and starts back working she immerses herself at work, continues to push Alex away and finally is confronted that she was drinking while in the lab.

The end of the show is an argument between Alex and Jo when he confronts her about her going to work drunk and she continues to push him away. By the end of the show, I could relate to Jo on so many different levels.

I have read a few comments from other viewers about how “Jo is the worst” and she is “always in so much pain…Alex doesn’t need her…she is so petty”. The review was hard to read because Jo is incredibly relatable to many adoptees. For those that have followed my adoption journey and now with the potential of reuniting with birth family, I can understand 100% why she withdrew from loved ones. I don’t agree with her showing up drunk on the job but the degree of her heightened emotions could cause people to do irrational things.

I’m sure the million dollar question is why did Jo withdraw and didn’t explain herself to Alex. As an adoptee, who has spoken with other adoptees, specifically Korean adoptees, some who have reunited with family, some where the birth family continues to deny their existence, some who are in process of searching and other who will never know their birth family and on some level we all relate. We all have this collective experience that is unique to us that we understand all the different emotions we experience as we walk along this journey.

There are times, I admit that I prefer to speak to specific KAD friends because of where they are in their birth family search, or because of other similar circumstances we have. I do not mean to withdraw myself from my other friends and loved ones, however adoption and the trauma surrounding adoption is something that we all KADs just understand. Some of these women that I have become close friends with I have only met a handful of times but on some level we just all “click”. We understand the struggles all of us have experienced and empathize in our current struggles of having our feet stand in two different worlds.

I am by no means excusing Jo’s drinking behavior or showing up to work drunk. What I am saying is that her portrayal of what adoptees go through during the birth family search is something ALL adoptive parents should see. Her story shows the darker side of adoption. As I have mentioned before, not all adoptions are happy endings, some have a very dark side. I am extremely grateful that Shonda is shedding light on adoptees, our journey, our pain, our struggles and has given us a realistic portrayal of us on prime time.

Monday evening, I finally got the courage to call the organization I have been working with. Unfortunately, the person who answered did not speak very good English so I will have to call back later this week. I am nervous and extremely anxious. I don’t speak Korean and having to explain where I am at in my search is nerve-wracking enough.  For now one day at a time, one step at a time.

 

-J

Korean Enough

Transracial adoption, a term that I had not used or heard of until several months ago. This term however describes me and my experience as an adoptee. If you are unfamiliar with this term “transracial” means that you identify as a different race other than your birth ethnicity.  For the most part KADs were adopted by white parents, so culturally we were raised white. I am not stating that this a bad thing by any means but many of us lost our ethnic identities, at times I know for myself that I had a difficult time accepting my Korean features.

I tried to diminish the fact that I did not look like my white friends  or even that I was a person of color. This especially was true when I started wearing make up. I can still remember in middle school reading the instructions that said where to put the different shades of eye shadow.  I laugh now but I cannot tell you how long it took me to figure out that I didn’t have a crease in my eyelid. For a split second I thought I had gotten some foreign makeup that didn’t understand that I was like everyone else.

In my attempts to find that “crease” in my eyelid my make up for awhile looked terrible. I had to figure out on my own how to do my own eye shadow because of my eyes. The attempts at having my make up done by friends or in a department store were out of the question. Most of the time I looked worse after someone else attempted my make up.

Within the last couple of years, I have noticed a shift. The more I started to look into Korea and after my first trip to visit there, the more I wanted to be able to exist in this world.It started slowly, I began to listen to k-pop and eventually started watching Korean dramas and I was officially hooked.

I started noticing that I exist in two different worlds which seem miles apart. It wasn’t until recently when the two worlds started to merge, how different they are and how to exist in both of them is a challenge. There are days where I am extremely frustrated that I can’t speak Korean or struggle with the fact that I’m “not Korean enough”. It constantly feels like that I have something to prove, even if it is only to myself.

Crossing over into Korean culture seems to present more of a challenge. Overall most KADs do not speak Korean and are unfamiliar with the culture this bridge is a little harder to cross. There are so many different things to “be Korean” and even then they can tell we were not raised there. From our mannerisms, clothes, hair, make up and for a lot of us, our inability to speak Korean most KADs could easily be picked out of a crowd of Koreans by Koreans.

There are some Koreans that are envious of us KADs because we can speak English like a native and can blend into American society without a second thought. I guess it’s funny to think about. There are so many traits that we as KADs seem to lack and yet we are envied by the very culture that we pine to be a part of.

What if we reframed the narrative? What if instead of stating that we exist in two different worlds, as transracial adoptees we accept the fact that we have become cultural “chameleons”. Meaning that we have the ability to move between different cultures, whether we are seen as “white” or people of color, we have the advantage to exist in these two vastly different worlds. Instead of focusing on what we “lack” we instead remember that there are two cultures where we can exist. We tend to focus so much on what we are lacking that we forget to acknowledge our advantages to existing in these different worlds.

While also changing the narrative and reclaiming our identities as adoptees, what if we also acknowledge our capability to be these chameleons and celebrate how unique it really is.

 

The Adoption Narrative

I can’t for the life of my find the right words. I’m overwhelmed, discouraged and disgusted. The adoption industry as a whole has turned human trafficking legal and turned children into one of the most profitable commodities. Like many other KADs, I know that the money that was paid for my adoption didn’t go to assist family supportive programs, or any other type of social service, instead it went to help rebuilding South Korea after the Korean war. To be frank, we were the nation’s hottest commodity and around 20 thousand or more per child, you can imagine the amount the country made on our behalf. Without thought of the future, Korea went as far as to try and erase our history and our past with the hope that we would never venture away from our newly found country and attempt to retrace our roots. Korea was wrong. Every month, every day, every summer KADs fly from all over the world to try and find their roots, to search for lost family members and put together pieces of a puzzle that never quite fit. We go back trying to be part of a culture that wanted us to move ahead and never look back, a culture that at times even rejects us now. We aren’t Korean by their standards and yet we try to fit into their world that we were never a part of or have forgotten. We can feel the stares when we are unable to speak Korean or when we do not know the social norms and customs. We are fully aware that we exist in two different worlds with one foot in each…and yet people still pay thousands of money each year to adopt a child from another country without knowing the impact it will have on the child.

We, as adoptees know all too well the affects that have haunted us. We are plagued daily with our own sense of abandonment, even with something as trivial as someone forgetting to call us back. We feel that sting each time. We know that eventually there will be questions that are unable to be answered or things we cannot explain. There will be things we may remember but do not know anything more than that. We will have to be reminded each time of our adoption when we go to the doctor and are asked about our family’s medical history. Each time in school we are reminded when a genetics project is assigned. We feel all those pains and those never really go away. We feel each impact that someone else made on our behalf as an infant or young child, taking us from a country we were born into and moving most of us half way across the world.

I have been fortunate enough to be on both sides of the equation. My daughter is adopted and I know that she will have questions. I know exactly what kinds of questions she is going to ask and the types of things she is going to feel. Even though she was adopted through foster care and our situations are not the same, I know there are some things I will be able help her through.

Now comes the uncomfortable part, the part where I can imagine that by all of these comments that I am somehow ungrateful that I was adopted or unappreciative of the life I was given. You’d be wrong if you think that, but I know that won’t stop you. You know who you are and your opinion of me will never change. I am not ungrateful in any way, shape or form, nor am I upset, bitter or even resentful that I was adopted. What I am saying is that adoptive parents don’t always know the impact that adoption has or will have. Even as babies, we are not clean slates. There have been numerous studies that show babies are able to identify their biological mother after they are born. Ripping them from that is traumatic whether you are able to admit it or not, there are plenty of studies that will confirm that it is traumatic for an infant to be separated from its mother.

The adoption narrative needs to change, how it needs to change isn’t something that I’ve been able to find a solution for yet. I know that there are millions of adoptee voices out there each with their own opinion on adoption and each with their own experience and story and they need to be heard. We are the experts. We are willing to sit down and have a conversation on what an adoptee means to us and how it has impacted who we are. The conversation only happens when people, mostly people who want to adopt and those who perpetuate the adoption commodity are willing to listen.

Shonda Hit a Home Run

If you haven’t watched this past Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I suggest you pause, watch it and then come back to this post. *Spoiler alert*

It wasn’t sure what to expect. As a habitual watcher of the show, I wasn’t sure where the story line, specifically of Jo and the search for her biological family was going to go. The previous episode eluded to the fact that she had found her birth mother and was planning on making a visit.

At first I was really anxious to watch this show. I have watch a couple of shows by Shonda Rhimes and I was a little concerned that it may be a unrealistic. However knowing Shonda and following Grey’s Anatomy for years, I should have known better.

As an adoptee, I have played reuniting with my bio family numerous times. I have played the interaction over and over a thousand different ways. Somehow, Shonda portrayed it to where it hit me in all of the feels. Jo was able to express her expectations and her assumptions of the situation her bio mom was in. This is something that I can relate too. I have my own thoughts on the situation that came about that warranted my adoption. Whether this story that I have fabricated is true or not, I have yet to figure out. However during the interaction, you start to notice that Jo was completely wrong about her bio mom. The narrative the she thought was the reality was nothing like the truth. It was it the adoption trauma of being abandon began all over as she learned that her bio mother had actually been sexually assaulted and didn’t work three different diner jobs to support herself.

In fact, Jo’s bio mom had more children, had gotten married and made a life for herself, something that Jo didn’t really think was possible, or something that had happen. Even now after hearing the reunification stories of different KADs (Korean adoptees), I still believe the narrative I have created in my head.

The episode starts out with an emotionally charged scene. If you have followed the show at all, you know that Jo was previously in an extremely abuse husband and was able to get out. However that doesn’t change the trauma that Jo previously endured, or the trauma from moving from foster home to foster home and eventually living in her car because that was safer.

The hallway scene is what got me. Even now just typing about it hits me right in the gut. The woman that Jo ends up helping throughout the episode had been sexually assaulted. This woman had NOT been wearing provocative clothing or had too much to drink. This woman had made up a story that many others have done in her position. They lied to cover up their embarrassment, their shame and the sheer fear that no one would believe them or that her outfit, her drinking or even her words would come into question.

Before the victim or patient gets surgery, she is clinging to Jo’s hand stating that she doesn’t want to close her eyes, that she doesn’t want to see the man’s face that assaulted her. Obviously this patient needs surgery, Jo and Teddy, I am not sure whom, was able to come up with the perfect solution. First you see that Dr. Webber is trying to get through and walk into the hallway. He is stopped by I believe DeLuca stating that he can’t walk through the doors and that for whatever reason, for now he cannot pass. As the patient is walked down the hallway, it is literally filled with women starting on both sides, smiling. In a brief shot you notice that Meredith has joined them and she isn’t sure but obviously comes to join the women in the hallway. Words cannot express how moving this way. It brought me to tears.

I do not claim to be an expert in trauma, sexual assault or abuse. I can only write to my experiences. During my years in college, I had too much to drink and a “friend” had decided that I was “sober” enough for consent, which I was not. Had I had the support of other women by my side, maybe my situation would have been different.

Shonda, thank you for not sugar coating sexual assault, trauma, adoption, biological family reunions, and some of the other themes that Grey’s Anatomy has addressed. It was very refreshing to know that there are women out there supporting other women and SHOWING the world what the reality it.

 

**Fathers, uncles and male role models** Take a GOOD listen and lesson from the conversation Ben has with Tuck. Women and girls can change our mind, and quite frequently we do. Once we do, it’s time out, game over. END. OF. DISCUSSION. Let their conversation be a lesson to you all.

Appa Update

Back in December, I wrote about finding out the name of my birth father and where he currently resides in South Korea. Since then, that is where the information trail stops. I have attempted to contact my case worker through the organization I am using and the last I heard was that there was going to be an attempt to contact him. Since that last email, the staff has changed a little bit and it appears that I have slipped in between the cracks.

After four different emails sent to the general email inbox, my next attempt will be to call them in hopes to make contact with someone who speaks English and I can see the status of my case. My plan is still to return to visit this year, however, if I do not make it this spring, and it’s looking like that, I will probably wait until fall. I don’t have a desire to go during Korean summer with heat and humidity.

The longer time passes as I wait to hear from the organization, the more anxious I get about losing the little piece of information that I have. It’s crazy the emotional roller coaster that I have been put on even with just the case of having his name. I used to think that such information was enough, that I would only need to know a name that would satisfy my curiosity but it seems like that isn’t the case.

Now that there is known information, everything feels like it is within reach. I can sick to my stomach just thinking about the numerous possibilities. Before I knew any of this information, I had come to accept that to find him would be a near miracle…and now that it has completely proven me wrong I am curious now more than ever.

My plan is to call the organization in Korea in the next couple of weeks to see if there is someone who is still in contact with the people handling my case. I am hoping that there is at the very least something to report back so I can start planning my trip back to Seoul.

Here is a link to the bringing of my appa search. Nothing Short of a Christmas Miracle

 

In the World of Adoptees

Since the debut of my book, I have had a lot of conversations with a variety of people. Some are planning to adopt, some have already adopted and others are other adoptees. While I was writing Ode to Bermuda Grass, I never thought that I would have some of the conversations that would occur or the stories I would hear from others. It has given me the opportunity to not only share my story but share some of the darker stories from adoptees. Not everyone knows that there is a very dark side of adoption, that there are children who are place in adoptive homes and abused physically, emotionally sexually or that there are international adoptees whose parents did not finish their naturalization paperwork and therefore they are not naturalized citizens. These are not the stories that adoption supporters don’t want to hear or are even aware of.

Does this mean that I don’t support adoption? Of course not, I believe that there is a place for everything, even an adoption. Although I don’t know the story surrounding my adoption and my birth mother’s circumstances, I choose to believe that she made the best choice because of her situation.

I don’t believe that I see the world through rose colored glasses, but I was not aware that such stories like these existed in the adoptee community. These stories exist and their voices are not often heard. Like all things there is an ugly dark side of adoption, one that is not frequently talked about or even addressed. I have heard stories of adoptees being “returned” by their adoptive family and felt rejected from not only their biological family but by their adoptive family as well. The devastation that this creates in unimaginable and heartbreaking.

I say all of this to say that adoption shouldn’t be taken lightly, that there are a multitude of attitudes, feelings and situations that we as adoptees face. Does everyone understand them? No. Are there enough supports for adoptive parents and adoptees? I don’t believe so. Even if these darker stories are not shared from those who have experienced it for one reason or another, it is something to be aware of. Take the time to understand us adoptees, our stories are not always fairy tales with storybook endings, sometimes they are tragedies, thrillers or dramas.

Why Can’t I Visit Them?

It has finally happened. The questions I have been dreading for the last four years. My daughter has started asking why she can’t see her “other parents”, her biological parents. I partly blame myself since I have been talking about the fact that I have most likely found my birth father in Korea. The thought of explaining to her why she is unable to have any contact with her biological parents is something that has weighed heavy on my heart.

Recently it has been brought to my attention that I claim to be an “adoptive” parent however I am not on my daughter’s paperwork. This is true, and if I have misled you in any way, you have my apologies. However it does not change the fact that paperwork does not define a family, that is exactly what it is, just a piece of paper. Throughout my life, I know families whether, through law or otherwise who aren’t on each other’s papers, that doesn’t make them any less family. If you ask my daughter she will tell you I am her mother. To HER I am her mother, that’s all that I need.

Since she has come into our care, we have always kept things at her level. We try to explain different situations in a way that she will understand. When the topic of biological parents would come up, she typically would use the term “other parents”, a term she continues to use. It what makes sense in her head. Eventually, I know there will come a day where we have to the hard conversation about why she can’t see them and the circumstances that lead her to come into our lives.

From the very beginning, being adopted, I already know the type of questions that she is going to ask. I know the type of information she is going to ask. As of right now, she continues to have a relationship with her maternal grandmother, however eventually I know that will not be enough. As she continues to watch me walk down my journey, there are going to be a lot of similarities and differences. There will be questions that I won’t be able to answer and ones that I never thought she would ask.

Over the last four years, I have gone over and over in my head the type of information that I would want in her position and go from there. Like any good parent, I have wanted to do everything possible without hurting her to shield her from her previous circumstances. There are experiences that a two-year-old should never be exposed too, words that they should never hear and situations they should never be placed in. I know that one day, I will have to answer the hard questions and walk beside her as she slowly starts to discover the truth. My only hope is that I can be the mom she needs and use my experience and journey to help her when she walks through the valleys.

Always,

J

Nothing Short of a Christmas Miracle

I have been debating when or even how to write about this. The last week or so has put me into a zombie-like state. My children’s dad said I have “pregnancy brain”. For the life of me I cannot get words out of my mouth, I forget what things or called or even how to speak. If you know me, you know this is typically not the problem. No, I am not pregnant. The emotional roller coaster I have been on and continue to be on isn’t anything short of a miracle.

For those that have been following my journey, I lost my father in October 2017. Since then and prior too then, I had an ever growing rift primarily with members of my family.

A couple of years ago, I start searching for my biological family. I began searching for my birth mom (omma) since it seemed the easiest place to start. My adoption paperwork from Korea has bits and pieces of her story. According to my paperwork I have where she grew up and part of her childhood, mirrored some of mine. Eventually when she was 20, she gave birth to me and I was immediately relinquished for adoption. That’s it. No mention of who my birth father (appa) at all.

Fast forward to March of this year, after contacting an organization I finally had a lead on my omma. This lead seemed very creditable because she was the only woman in the country with a matching name and birthday as the woman on my paperwork. However upon meeting her, my hopes were dashed and I find out that as much as she wanted too, she was not my omma. She wished me well, told me I grew up beautifully and that my omma should be proud.

I thought my journey ended there. After that there wasn’t much more to do than to leave my DNA as a “missing” person in Korea, and hope there eventually would be a match. This has to guarantee. Because my paperwork had so many details, the retired police officer, current professor said he was willing to go to where she grew up and ask the elders if they knew her name/location.

Although I left Korea with unanswered questions, I knew emotionally I may not have been able to handle a blunt rejection. After much time and therapy, I had to walk away from the search. It was emotionally tolling and the amount of unanswered questions and different scenarios could drive a person mad. During the summer a lot of adoptees go back to Korea, it is usually when the organizations that help adoptees is bombarded by requests. It was at this time I decided to take a step back. I stopped following up and being diligent on searching for omma.

I emailed my contact a couple of times, and didn’t learn anything new. Slowly I was coming to terms that this would be the end of the search and I was working through accepting that my questions may remain unanswered.

A couple of days after my launch party I receive an email from my contact. Something that I never thought I would ever read. It said that a man was found who is presumed to be my birth father and this professor/retired cop wanted to bring me to meet him. I screamed in the middle of the email. I scared my kids so much they started consoling me as if I was tragically hurt. Of course o couldn’t hold back my emotions and tears ran down my cheeks. This didn’t help, my poor children were convinced I was hurting. I told them it was happy thoughts, that they had most likely found my biological father.

I became numb. I didn’t know how to react. This mystery man had a name and location. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think the possibility of finding him would happen. Since I have zero documentation regarding my birth father I either assumed my omma didn’t know or there was another legitimate reason why he was kept off of my birth certificate. The number of questions that ran through my head were endless. I wanted to know every little detail nothing too big or too small was insignificant at this point. My mind needed every single question answered. Of course I immediately wrote back stating I wasn’t sure when I would be back but that I will be back to Korea as soon as I am able.

Upon asking how this man was found, the response was “trade secret” and that was the end of that. I will admit I was a little disappointed but for the first time my appa had a name and a location. This is still mind blowing.

Some of my best friends have graciously started a GoFundMe to help get me to Korea as soon as possible. The money I had to go was used on my last trip and I was most likely planning to go back at the end of next summer but those plans were not set in stone.

After hearing all of this new information, I need to get to Korea ASAP. It is unbelievable that this miracle has happened. There is no other way to explain this, especially a couple of weeks before Christmas. I have included the link here if you feel led to donate, please do. Thoughts and prayers for this part of my journey are just as appreciated. Thank you. I will be keeping everyone posted on the start of this journey.

Always,

J