Tuesday, June 28, 2011

13 days...

[I wrote the following on 6.9.2009, 13 days before leaving for Korea to reunite with my Korean mother and father for the first time since my relinquishment in 1975. But for some reason I never published it at my blog, so I will share it here in honor of the 2 year anniversary of that fateful trip...]


Originally, I had been told not to expect my birth mother or birth father to tell any of their family members about me until after my visit to Korea--that basically, it was unlikely that either one of them would open the closet and show this skeleton to anyone, any time soon.

But the closet got opened. And the skeleton is about to come bone to bone with a strange and uncertain mob.

Needless to spell it out, but I'm going to anyway--I recently discovered that I will be meeting more of my birth family than initially expected: two half-sisters, three cousins, an aunt, and possibly one of my half-sister's husband and daughter--all on my birth mother's side.


In light of this new knowledge, my contact at the agency suggested that it might be appropriate to prepare for other such events.

She said you don't know how your birth parents will feel after they have actually met you. Emotions run high. They may be so emotional after meeting you that they want to tell everyone. Or they may not. But just be prepared.

I'm prepared. About as prepared as a newly hatched bird. The only way they learn how to fly? Jumping the nest and hoping instinct will kick in at just the right moment.


It's not that I do not want to meet my birth mother's family. I just had not expected this. At all.

It has caught me off guard. And adds to the nervous anticipation.

My contact consoled me that they all want to meet me. That most likely they're not angry with me, that most likely they will not despise me.

But there is no way to know for certain how any of them are feeling, for worse or for better.


Someone told me recently that many of these families just want to move on with their lives. They don't want to be disrupted or interrupted.

Yet, in my mind, opening one's heart to the potential for love is a worthy disruption.

It is true enough that some families shun those adoptees who come looking for them.

But that I should feel that I must approve of such a decision is the kind of thinking that perpetuates the kind of exclusion and alienation that has for so long characterized the blemishes upon our species' history.

Rather than open our hearts and minds to let in those who have been estranged and cast out, we tell ourselves that this is the way our world works. And this is the way that we must embrace.

Keep to your own kind. Don't go fidgeting with the order and convenience of the status quo. You need to be accepting and open-minded enough to conform to what has been and always will be.

Tell me, then, what is so accepting and open-minded about telling an adoptee that she is shut out from the one who gave her birth? What is so accepting and open-minded about conceding to the societal standard that the sense of love and family cannot extend beyond the social barriers that we have fortified and seem unwilling to tear down?

What is so loving and accepting about a birth mother fearing that her husband and children will despise her should they ever come to know that she gave birth to another human life years ago?

Why else would a birth mother feel the need to "move on" and separate her heart from a child she has born other than the fact that she has not been given the support, approval, or kindness to do otherwise? If her acceptance is threatened should she choose to remain attached to her love and longing for the child she has born, would this not naturally create a sense of pressure and obligation to sever that relationship?

Needless to say, I have difficulty consigning human life and relationship to the antiquated social constructs that exclude and condemn those who have had to face absurd decisions due to those very constructs. It is a vicious cycle.