Thursday, July 31, 2014

At the Corner of Badass and Broken

In my first Lost Daughters post a month ago, I introduced one aspect of myself to you: Korean adoptee.  But there are many other parts and now is a good time to roll them out:  I’m a mother to biological and adopted children.  I’m a wife to what we’ve coined as a Stay-At-Home-Dude.  I’m a full-time working woman in Corporate America, an Army veteran, a Crossfitter, and a writer.  I’m a Kentucky girl and SoCal woman.  I’m a daughter to two families – the American family who adopted me at age 3 and the Korean family who found and reclaimed me at age 36.

I am everything I am, all the time.  There’s no way to be different parts of myself at different times. For example, it’s impossible for my maternal nurturing instinct and my Crossfit competitiveness not to inform the way I interact with colleagues at work.  I can’t help but impose a bit of military discipline when teaching my kids to clean their rooms and do their homework.  And, much to my husband’s frustration, I can’t keep the over-thinking writer out of some of our marital debates.

I’ve tried so hard segregate the pieces.  When I transitioned out of the Army, it seemed easier to prevent my military mind from imposing on my new civilian life.  In that way, I spent years struggling to find a career that did not fit the whole of me.  Conversely, I’ve sometimes found that empowerment in one aspect spurred growth in others.  For example, when I nurtured my inner athlete, I found a renewed confidence in my job and marriage.

I was born in Korea, spent the first two years with my Korean family, and was eventually adopted to my American family when I was 3.  I spent 3 years becoming a person with a family and country until the moment it all turned on a dime, and then I was expected to become different person with a different family and country.  I tried so hard to reject the old and become the new in order to survive the dissonance, but every aspect of my life was colored by the one part of myself that I tried to ignore.  So I broke myself in half, and I lived the rest of my formative years as half a person.

So many adoptees feel compelled to segregate our adopted selves from the rest of our so-called real selves.  We have been taught that the trauma was an isolated, static event in the past, and we expect that the trauma of maternal separation is something that we should get over at some point.  For some of us, though, the separation trauma is a living thing within us, sometimes manifesting in insecurity, melancholy, loneliness, or worse.  When don’t get over the trauma, when we can’t unquestioningly accept whatever replacement life and identity we’ve been given, we feel defective.  We have emotions that don’t make sense in the context of our “happy,” “lucky” lives.

Children want to be normal and accepted, and for many of us, the only way to conform to our assumed identities was to compartmentalize the trauma.  We try not to be adopted people.  We splinter ourselves from within. Then we stumble upon a trigger and are suddenly reduced to the adopted person again.  We feel defective again.  This persistent loss cannot be outgrown.

Studies have shown that adopted people as a group are exceptionally accomplished, and also have exceptionally high suicide rates, as compared with non-adopted people.  I don’t believe half the adopted population is well-adjusted and whole while the other half is mentally ill.  I believe many of us spend extra energy fostering an ideal of normalcy and worthiness, even as we view ourselves as grotesque and unworthy, and we struggle to balance these opposites.

After giving birth to 3 children, I decided to adopt.  At the time I thought I understood my motives, but in retrospect I realize there was something subterranean moving in my heart.  Through the process of adopting a child, the other half of me woke up.  She would no longer be ignored. 

It’s taken years for me to begin reconciling the halves, just as it took years for me to reconcile the parts of me that are both military and civilian, both career and family woman.  How foolish I have been to believe that I can ever unpack a part of myself.  We all have our invisible rucksacks full of our burdens.  We can ignore them, but we can’t deny them.  We all want to feel accepted by others and ourselves, but acceptance without acknowledgement is an insidious form of emotional violence.  We form false identities by avoiding the aspects of ourselves we don’t like or understand.

These days, I’m never surprised that I can leave the gym after crushing a workout to find myself fighting back tears from some unknown adoption trigger.  I am entirely composed of the badass parts and the broken parts, so why should I consider them dissonant?  They are equal parts of the whole, and I can’t leave any of them at home.  Every place we’ve been, everything we’ve lived, every person we’ve held informs who we are.  Some experiences stay alive in us – I will always be a woman who served in the Army, who raised four children, who grew up in the soft hills of Kentucky, who was a child who once lost everything.   

The great irony here is that I couldn’t be whole until I understood the ways I am broken, and then allowed myself permission to be both.  There’s no shame in this living trauma.  I have a right to both the trauma and the intermittent (sometimes overwhelming) grief that intertwines with every other aspect of who I am.  It turns out that the house of my identity sits at the corner of badass and broken, and it is beautiful because it is mine.

About me:

I contribute to the Lost Daughters blog and several adoption-related anthologies, all in development. I wrote for the now-retired blogs Faiths and Illusions and Grown in My Heart.  I have an American family that raised me and a Korean family that lost and found me. Both families met in 2013.  I live with my husband, Brett, and four children (3 biological, 1 adopted from China) in Southern California. Find me at or on Facebook as Soojung Jo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Orphans" and Economics

One of my most recent eye-opening lessons in the international adoption community is how “family preservation” is viewed. It seems to make people feel uncomfortable, even a bit threatened, yet it would help so many more children than adoption does.
Awassa Reading Center, Ethiopia

Anyone involved in international adoption is aware of the role of money. Adoptions cost around $30,000-$40,000. Children who are adopted internationally have birth families that are poor, some more abjectly than others. Children who are adopted internationally have adoptive families who are way better off economically than their birth families. Yes, there are exceptions, but that’s a reality in most cases, whether you were born in Korea, China, Haiti, Russia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, or India. It’s a definite imbalance of power.

Adoptive parents often hold fundraisers to get the thousands of dollars they need to adopt internationally. Friends, family, and strangers contribute. Many of the parents then claim the adoption tax credit after the child is with them, and that way get reimbursed by the US government for the airfare, hotels, meals, and other adoption expenses.

I’m holding a fundraiser, but it’s not for adoption. It’s for family preservation in my home country of Ethiopia. I was placed for adoption not because I was an orphan, or because my parents had died, but because they were poor.

I have told myself I was done fighting with time, I cannot reclaim the past, and I am ready to move forward. Moving forward has meant not obsessing over every specific detail of what happened and what was lost. It’s a struggle.

I’m not giving up on the struggle, and I am happy that I now know my Ethiopian family. They are happy that I grew up safe and healthy, with a good education. Still, I’ve seen the heartache that adoption has caused each of us, in different ways. These days, I ask myself often what I can focus on. What can I do to fix a broken system, which had failed my first family and many other Ethiopian families like mine? A system that means mothers must lose their children perhaps forever, that sends children to an orphanage, simply because their parents are too poor to keep them. I decided to open my eyes to my pain and that of first mothers and fathers. I’m not weeping anymore; I’m working.

With this in mind, I am returning to Ethiopia in August to visit my family. My 7-year-old daughter will meet her Ethiopian grandmother for the first time, along with the rest of my family there. On August 17, I will run a half marathon in a national park not far from where my family still lives, and where I lived for my first 5 years of life. 

I am running to raise funds for Bring Love In, an organization that unites women who are widows with children who need mothers. Bring Love In also works alongside families who need just a little economic help (about $40 a month) so that they can keep their children with them, and out of orphanages. I find their mission extremely moving and powerful. They, like me, believe in family preservation.

As an American, I am aware of the role of money flowing into Ethiopia because of adoption: millions of dollars. Some is for adoption/orphanage fees, some for court costs, some for hotels, guesthouses, translators, drivers, and guides. Many people have benefited financially from international adoption; some ethically, some not. It’s hard to talk about the role of money without also talking about fraud and corruption, as well as economic inequity. Americans, western Europeans, Canadians, and Australians spend thousands of dollars for adoption and travel costs in Ethiopia, a country where the gross national income per capita is about $400 a year. (In the US, the GNI per capita is about $47,000.)

As an Ethiopian and an American, I want this to change. I refuse to let anyone write off Ethiopia as a poor and helpless country. There is so much beauty and potential. As an adoptee who is a part of the African Diaspora, I have a sense of duty and obligation to my people and to my family.

My fundraiser to promote family preservation has sparked many conversations. Some people will not donate because they feel my cause is taking away the availability of adoptable children, but that’s not true. There are and will always be children who need safe and loving homes, and who cannot stay in the one to which they were born. Poverty, though, should not be the only reason they are adopted.

Some people admitted to me that they feel threatened by the idea of family preservation, and are far more comfortable with contributing to adoption fundraising. But no mother should lose her child, and no child should lose her mother, because they don’t have the pittance of money we waste on a given weekend here.

I’ve also received beautiful messages and words of encouragement from complete strangers, which has moved me to tears. Some have never been to Ethiopia, and probably never will go, but they understand why this matters. I’ve never felt so moved by and connected to a project, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to make a difference.

My goal of $5000 is small, relative to the costs of adopting. All the money (tax deductible for donors) will go to Bring Love In (except for 3% that goes to Crowdrise). No tax credit or tax benefits for me. That small amount of money will mean that 10 families will be supported for a year—none of the children will go into an orphanage. They will receive food, clothing, and education.

Imagine if I were able to raise $30,000. Or $300,000. Someday.

I thought $5000 would be an easy amount to raise, and I was wrong. It’s been a struggle, and a reminder that family preservation is far less popular than adoption, at least in terms of fundraising. It doesn’t have the same appeal as many orphan care programs, because most of these children, like most internationally adopted children, aren’t actual orphans. Those who are orphans are remaining in Ethiopia, living with widows as their moms through Bring Love In. The fundraiser is doing well, but I still have a ways to go with fewer than 30 days left. I appreciate any help you can give me in this race towards a transparent, compassionate future for vulnerable children and their families.

If you would like to donate or share information about my fundraiser, thank you. Here is the link:

Editor's Update: Due to Aselefech's efforts and bravely bringing the reality that family preservation is undersupported to the table, her fundraiser surpassed her goal reaching over $6,000.  Well done, Aselefech!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Oh This Wicked Faith

Oh this wicked faith of mine
And because of what
Why does this keep happening to me
It's not the first time
It seems to happen every time

Why is that
How could that be
Could it be my olive skin
My dark brown Asian eyes or my raven black hair
Is it happening only because I'm Asian
And dress a certain way

I admit that I'm Asian
I'm proud to be Asian and I won't ever deny it
I refuse to be a sexual object
I shouldn't have to be punished based on who my parents are

Docile and submissive I'm anything but that
Maybe it's the Asian fever
Is the Asian fever eqvivallent to a curse

What's so special with an Asian girl ?
Is it really that exoctic
As they claim it is
Why is it that I get noticed wherever I go by the opposite sex
It's not like I'm doing something special

No longer will I confuse male attention with love
Real love means that they accept you and respect you
And think less of a womans body and clothes
Maybe it's my youth or
 Asian heritage I can't be sure

No I say no
Stop this right now
This was the last time
I wasted time on worrying about a boy

I should not be concerned
About weither or not a boy likes me
What's important is something
That I almost forgot
Do I like somebody
Not do they like me or why do they like me

The truth if is as follows
Sure I'm Asian but only by birth and heritage
I'm so much more than just a plain Asian stereotype
You seem to forget among all your prejudices
That I am in fact a human too
I have a heart, feelings and a mind of my own

I refuse to be somebody's personal Gheisa
To be transformed into another man's Asian doll
Blackmailed and threatened into
Nothing more than a personal slave

I'm tired of being a stereotype
As soon as people see me
They assume they know exactly who I am
Just by looking at the colour of my skin
Or the way I choose to dress
Being Asian is so much more
Than eating rice and singing karaoke
Its a culture, heritage
More importantly a human race

Dad keeps telling me I have a choice
People always have
What guy should I strive towards then
A guy whose just like me
Or someone my parents could accept

Friday, July 18, 2014

Birth Certificate Access and U.S. Born Domestic Adoptees

Born, fostered, adopted and raised in Connecticut, I reconnected with my natural parents and families in 1998. Since then, I have applied my lifelong experience as an adopted person to conducting critical analysis of global adoption practices. A resident of Pennsylvania, I currently serve as a contributing board member of Pennsylvania Adoptee Rights. I also write about the adoptee experience as editor, contributor, and media columnist of the collaborative blog of adopted women, Lost Daughters.

I have witnessed, and been a part of, many disagreements surrounding adoption reform. What I have realized is that many are fearful of how things might change should the current practices of adoption change. As more transparency and the empowerment of everyone involved in adoption practices are not things that should be feared, I am committed to relieving the suffering caused by what I view to be inequitable practices that are not holistically compassionate. Such practices provide a rather weak foundation for an adoption industry that claims to be working in the best interests of children. What many seem to ignore or forget is that adopted children eventually become independent adults and that we should be considered as contributing members of our own adoptions. We are also the only ones who can actually speak to the experience of being adopted.

I'm proud to be part of a global community of adoptees, fostered persons, natural parents, adoptive parents, and supporters who are committed to advocating for the rights of adopted persons. The issue of adoptee rights is broad and far-reaching. My experience as a Caucasian adopted through domestic infant adoption in the U.S. is different from my transracial and international adoptee counterparts. Yet there are so many common threads that weave our experiences together and create a united, collective whole. I am dedicated to advocating for reform measures that place the needs and rights of the child first and foremost when it comes to global adoption practices. As a U.S. born domestic adoptee, I also have a deep, personal interest in the current practice of altering and sealing original birth certificates. This is an issue that impacts me directly, as well as my children and future descendants.

Birth Certificate Access and U.S. Born Domestic Adoptees

When the domestic adoption of a U.S. born adoptee is finalized, the state in which the adoptee was born issues an amended birth certificate that lists the adoptive parents as if they are the biological parents. There is no indication on the amended birth certificate that an adoption took place. The original, factual birth certificate is then sealed away and the amended version becomes the only legally recognized birth certificate. This happens with every domestic adoption of a U.S. born adoptee in every state. Is it necessary to alter a child's birth certificate in order for an adoption to take place? Of course not. Adoptive parents are issued a separate document called an Adoption Decree deeming them the legal parents. Yet, all states continue the practice of altering adoptees' birth certificates and many states currently do not allow adoptees to legally access their original birth certificates upon reaching adulthood in the same way that non-adopted adult citizens can.

It wasn't always this way. Some states have never denied adoptees equal access to their own, factual birth certicates. My state of birth, Connecticut, didn't deny adoptees equal access until 1975, four years after my adoption was finalized. My state of residence, Pennsylvania, didn't deny adoptees equal access until 1985. When the laws were changed in both Connecticut and Pennsylvania, however, it was done retroactively. This means that I am currently unable to access my factual birth certificate unless I pay court fees, petition a judge, and hope for the request to be granted--even though nobody involved in my adoption in 1971 had any reason to believe that I would not access my own birth certificate upon reaching adulthood. Non-adopted adults born in Connecticut, on the other hand, can simply make a request and pay a small processing fee to access the accurate records of their births.

When one class of people is treated differently under law to all others, it is discrimination. The message provided to adult adoptees by some state governments is that we are somehow less deserving than non‐adopted adult citizens simply because we were adopted as children--a choice we no more made for ourselves than we did our hair, eye, or skin color. Access legislation advocacy seeks to restore the equal access under law that once existed for all adult citizens and end the decades‐long practice of considering adoption to be something shameful and secretive.

Access legislation is not about:

Search and reunion. Some individuals and organizations oppose restoring equal access to adult adotpees based on the notion that some natural parents might not wish to have contact with their relinquished sons or daughters. Contrary to what many in society have been led to believe, there is not one legal document involved in any adoption that legally guarantees a parent total anonymity form their own son or daughter. In most states, an adoptee’s file and original birth certificate can be opened at a judge’s discretion. As such, it is a legal impossibility that a natural parent could assume total anonymity from the adoptee.

What an adult adoptee may choose to do, or not do, with the information contained on their original birth certificate is a personal matter and not one that requires the involvement of state governments. Some may choose to search and some may not. Adult citizens manage their personal engagements with other adults on their own every day. And there are many options available to any adult citizen who does not wish to engage with another adult citizen. The personal preferences of some (natural parents who do not desire contact with their sons or daughters) should not be given priority over the legal rights of all adults who were adopted as children.

Natural parent privacy. Birth certificates are not amended until an adoption is finalized. Children who are in foster care because the parental rights of their parents have been terminated, and who have not been legally adopted, use and have access to their factual birth certificates. If the amending of birth certificates was contingent on the privacy of natural parents, the process of legal fiction would occur upon termination of parental rights. Instead, an adoptee’s birth certificate is only amended upon the finalization of adoption. One could surmise, therefore, that the amending of birth certificates is for the adoptive parents’ benefit and has nothing to do with natural parent privacy.

Additionally, as referenced earlier, all states have laws allowing access, even if that access can only be granted through a judge's discretion. So privacy has never been a factor from a legal perspective. There has never been a legal guarantee of total anonymity in adoption between natural parents and their offspring.

Abortion. Alaska and Kansas have never sealed the original birth certificates of adoptees. Both states have also been noted as having very low abortion rates according to data compiled in 2010 by the American Adoption Congress. The same data also revealed that in the states with more recent restored access, abortion rates lowered significantly following the passing of access legislation. Data shows that access legislation will not result in more abortions.

Our adoptive families. An adult adoptee who determines that it is in their best interest to obtain their original birth certificate has simply made a personal decision about their well‐being as an adopted person. Desiring one’s original birth certificate is not an indication of how an adoptee feels toward their adoptive family. We can love, cherish and respect our adoptive families and still need our original birth certificates.

Adoptees existed, and had identities, prior to our adoptions being finalized and our birth certificates being altered. For many of us, it is important to acknowledge this fact regarding our personal histories. Access legislation empowers adoptees and this is something that everyone connected to adoption should support.

Access legislation is about restoring to all adult adoptees the right to access their own original birth certificates and treating adult adoptees as equal to non‐adopted adults under law. Non-adopted adults born in any state can access their factual birth certificates by making a simple request and paying a small processing fee. Many adoptees cannot. This must change. 

Julie Stromberg
When the time came to think about college, I decided that my career path would encompass either child psychology or journalism. Fortunately for all the young people out there, I opted for journalism and earned a bachelor's degree in communications. Since that time, I have worked as a newspaper and magazine staff writer, public relations associate, and marketing copywriter. My professional creative efforts have been acknowledged with several industry awards.

I am also pleased to be involved in several writing and advocacy projects outside of the office. As an adoptee, my advocacy work is focused on changing the common, societal discourse on adoption practices and encouraging reform that would place the emotional needs and legal rights of the children involved first.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Control. That word was repeated numerous times at KAAN (Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network Conference) a few weeks ago. I guess I always knew it deep down … that I had a freakish need for control. In the past, I phrased it as “anal retentiveness.”

I control many things in my adult life, and I enjoy the stability I feel with that control. If I control my life, there are no surprises … right?

Wrong. Everything about my adoption was not controlled by me. It was controlled by the Korean culture, the Korean government and Holt International.

As I grew up, I learned again that my life was out of my control. I couldn’t control the remarks or the ridicule from others. I couldn’t control my appearance, though I tried.

I tried to be more white; I tried to fashion an eyelid crease. I suppressed my Korean side and emphasized my place in a lower, middle class, Tennessee family. If I was going to be oppressed, I wanted it to be for an affliction that could be remedied. I wanted to regain control.

We all have those instances where we feel oppressed for many different things: our accent, our clothing, our socioeconomic status, our religious affiliation …

Please understand, I am not downplaying these things, but they are things that can be changed or hidden. I cannot hide my face, my eyes or my ochre skin.

Just like the woman on this train in Australia, I would not have been able to control the words of this racist woman. (Be warned there is foul language in this video. Extremely triggering.)

In the racist’s defense on the local news, she talks about criticism she has received in the past. She diverts attention from her remarks by using her hardships … work problems, money problems. Here I have started to understand that often when we are oppressed we are blind to the oppression of others, and we lash out.

Watching this footage was triggering. Her words and gestures brought back all those times where I had no control over what was said to me. My reaction was always to take the words, say nothing and then, silently slink off to a private place to cry. I have done that for years. Lately, my coping mechanism has changed. I learned this at the KAAN conference. When I feel out of control, I lash out at my family … possibly because I know they will still love me.

My daughter has asked when adoption will stop being the focus of my thoughts … when my frustration and misfired anger will stop. While I can never disassociate myself from my adoption, I recognized this in myself at KAAN and have returned determined.

I am resolute in channeling my outrage into change for their sake.

Feminist columnist, Rosita is a transracial, Korean-American adoptee. She is married to a Brit who refers to himself as an Anglo-American and is a mother to two multiracial children. Rosita was adopted in 1968 at the age of one through Holt International. Her road has been speckled with Puerto Rican and Appalachian relatives and her multiracial sister, the natural child of her adoptive parents. While quite content with her role as a “Tennerican,” her curiosity has grown recently as her children explore their own ethnic identities. She considers herself a lost daughter, not only because of the loss of her birth family, but also because of the loss of her adopted mother, who died in 2001 as she became a first time mother. Rosita has recently started her search for her natural family. With the help of G.O.A.’L., she visited Korea in August 2014. When she is not supporting her children on their individual paths, Rosita spends her time as an art educator, ceramicist and an art photographer. She also shares her adventures as an adoptee and parent on her blog, mothermade.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Let Freedom Ring

It’s Independence Day in the USA.  It is a time to celebrate the remarkable day 238 years ago when our young American colonies severed their national allegiance to Great Britain with those courageous words, We hold these truths to be self-evident.

Today, Americans all over the world pause to hold their families and friends close and give thanks for our many freedoms.  Today, I pause to reflect on the ways that, despite my American freedoms, I still oppress myself.

But I haven’t introduced myself.  I am Soojung Jo, born of a Korean mother 37 years ago.  I lived with her for 18 months, and then at the Sungrowon orphanage for another 18 months, and in 1980 I was adopted to a US family.  With that loving family, I experienced all the typical joys and heartaches of youth. Underneath, I wore another layer of unacknowledged discomfort that many transnational adoptees have experienced.  These were feelings I had no vocabulary for back then: displacement, pathological mourning, racial and cultural identity, and mostly, that greatest of undefined words, han.

As a kid, Independence Day was a time for family picnics, matching glow-in-the-dark outfits, and fireworks.  It was a party to celebrate the freedom concept that I was too young to grasp.  When I joined the Army, freedom was suddenly not just something bestowed upon me, but something I was sworn to fight for.  It was what my friends and I were willing to die for, if called, for we learned that there is nothing more valuable.  Let us be forlorn, let us be isolated, let us be destitute – but let us be free.

I cherish the freedoms of this country, and I am grateful for those who keep us free.  In the spirit of honoring liberty, I declare my own independence from self-oppression, and list these facts as proof of my self-repeated injuries and usurpations:

     ShameAs an adopted person, I allowed myself to feel ashamed of my feelings of abandonment and exclusion.  I felt a duty to gratitude and happiness that did not allow room for a full range of appropriate emotions.

     CensorshipI became a first-class social monitor, constantly scanning others for clues about how I should act and speak in order to be accepted. 

     Self-rejectionI forsook the beauty of this unique experience and my scars for the Pleasantville version of my life.  I became an online dating version of myself.

     MartyrdomI assumed the role of martyr in two ways.  First, as an adopted person I  presumed to corner the market on loss.  Second, as a mother I acted in so-called selflessness, but what I really desired was recognition.

In response to those injuries, I submit the following self-evident truths:

     No feeling is wrong.  Thoughts, words, and responses might be wrong, but the underlying feelings come from a place of truth and must not be denied.

     Everyone has a struggle.  Though they range in nature, size, and intensity, no struggle is better or worse.  They are all valid.

     Every voice has a venue.  Whatever your message might be, if it comes from a place of integrity, there is someone else who needs to hear it.  No voice should be silent, for it might be the one that makes a life difference to someone else. 

     The greatest human need is connection.  Whatever reason you have for the hard walls around your heart, you will need to resolve it in order to gain meaningful connection with others.  Without meaningful connection, we can’t achieve wholeness.  My reason was being separated from my mother and country at the age of 3, and then the isolation of lonely childhood in Kentucky.

     We receive as much love as we open ourselves to.  The only thing that limits our capacity to be loved is our willingness to accept it.  Once accepted, love fills us like a reservoir that will, if given a chance, overflow.  My children taught me how to open my heart.  Because of that, when my Korean family found me last year and my two mothers met, I had the capacity to accept them both.

These are the ways that I declare independence from my personal forms of bondage.  This doesn’t meant that I’ve gotten my act together, only that I’ve identified some of the ways I need to be free.  Remember, after the Declaration of Independence it took our founding fathers 13 more years to enact the Constitution, and we're still amending it today.  What does your freedom look like, and in what ways can you liberate yourself? 

I leave you with two thoughts, from a couple of the greatest female minds of our time.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~Gloria Steinem

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.  ~Toni Morrison, Beloved

About me:
You can't label a person, but if you tried, these are some of the labels I've worn:  daughter, orphan, adopted daughter, wife, soldier, veteran, engineer, manager, mother, adopter, writer.  I contribute to the Lost Daughters blog and several adoption-related anthologies, all in development. I wrote for the now-retired blogs Faiths and Illusions and Grown in My Heart.  I have an American family that raised me and a Korean family that lost and found me. Both families met in 2013.  I live with my husband, Brett, and four children (3 biological, 1 adopted from China) in Southern California.

Find me at or on Facebook as Soojung Jo.