What if I had been able to grow up with my birth family?
Almost 40 years after being adopted from Korea to America and 4 years post-reunion, I am finally allowing myself to not only ponder and answer this question, but to grieve and cry over what I am finding as I face the answers honestly and truthfully.
This question has always felt like one that I was not allowed to ask. Or if I did ask it, then I had to answer it with an unwavering, "You should be grateful you didn't grow up with your birth family, because your life would have been so much worse. You're better off now that you were adopted to America!"
Furthermore, this question has always felt like one that was pointless and counterproductive to ask...because how can you ever really know the answer? There are an infinite number of possible scenarios--both good and bad. To ask "what if?" felt emotionally dangerous, uncertain, and potentially damaging to my well-being. It most certainly felt like a Pandora's box, and I did not dare open it.
I think ultimately I was not ready to face the complexity of such a question...until now.
The truth is that, for me, to not face this question was causing me heartache and strife. It lingered in my mind like an unwelcome solicitor loitering outside my door that refused to go away. I thought it would demand something of me that I did not want to give, and if I opened the door, it would never leave but only continue to harass me until I lost all hope.