Sure, I've received my share of derogatory comments, things like: "white worshipping whore". But what people don't understand is I love my husband for so many reasons other than his skin tone. In fact, his skin color has nothing to do with why I chose to be with him.
Being an interracial couple is not something we’ve talked about much. But now that we’re an interracial family, with a mixed-race daughter, we feel the weight of closed mindedness or even just ignorance, more than ever. It makes me sad to know Olive will face obstacles simply because her mother is a minority & her father is not. My hope is that by the time she is old enough to have these conversations she won’t have to. But I know that’s wishful thinking.
& we’ll continue to educate our friends & family about how they can & should protect & advocate for our daughter in a world where the way she looks will mean so much even though it really means so little.
We're getting really close. Less than 3 weeks until my due date & if baby decides to come early, well, then it could be any day now. Everything suddenly feels more real, in large thanks to the birthing class we attended a couple weeks ago. While it was helpful in some ways, it was also overwhelming & kind of bleak. I understand they have to talk about every possible complication & outcome, but if you ask me they could've kept a lot of that to themselves. Also, my friend sent me a very beautiful labor & delivery video. It wasn't graphic by any means, it played pleasant music & it was quite heartwarming, but it instantly made me cry. For the first time I felt afraid. My whole pregnancy I talked a big game saying I'm not worried because: 1) I'm not the first person to ever go through this, a million women have done it before, 2) when it's time we'll go to the hospital & no matter what happens the end result is to leave with a baby & 3) we'll trust the professionals. I can almost recite it like a script I've said it so many times. So, why the sudden fear? I think I finally realized the seriousness of what is coming. Yes those 3 points I made are true, but it doesn't change the fact I have to go through what will probably be the most physically painful & challenging experience of my life. It took a few days & a few good talks with Quinn to get to a place of peace with it all.
The other thing that's surfaced recently was realizing my biological mother went through all of this to ultimately give me up. She went through 9 months of this roller coaster called pregnancy, allowing me to grow inside of her, take from her, change her body forever, without the end goal most of us do this for - to raise our baby. I'm in awe of the strength & courage it must have taken just to allow me to live. She could've chose to abort me, but instead she gave me a chance. I feel grateful to be alive in a way I never have before. So, to the woman who gave me life, we may never know each other, I may never get a chance to tell you this in person, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
It's been a busy month filled with get-togethers, Easter, house hunting & working. I've been feeling the best in my pregnancy so far which is good because I don't think I really have time right now to feel bad. I just ordered a maternity bathing suit which should arrive in a few days, right in time for triple digit weather. And we have only 17 weeks left to go! Aside from the general excitement of being pregnant, I'm now getting specifically excited to meet my daughter. I feel her moving constantly, continually getting stronger & bigger. Which has actually been kind of calming at times when I've felt stressed, because it's an instant reminder that there are more important things happening in my life. I imagine what her little face looks like, what color her hair will be, if she'll be silly & hyper like me or more thoughtful & studious like her dad. I wonder what it's going to be like to hold her, feed her, rock her back & forth, & how it'll be to meet my first blood relative. I know that last one might be an odd thought to some, but being adopted this whole experience of having my own child has come with extra feelings I wasn't expecting. I've often longed to meet someone, anyone I'm biologically related to. Just to once have the opportunity to maybe feel that connection or possibly see similarities. Something so many take for granted but something I've dreamt about. And now, finally, I'll have it. I'm getting two of the best gifts from my one little baby: she's making me a mother & she's taking the meaning of family to a whole other level.
I wasn't sure I'd ever write about this, but since I haven't been able to find much online about other Korean adoptees currently searching, I decided to share. It's been an emotional year starting on this journey. I've always been curious about my birth family, I've always been open to the idea of looking, saying from a very young age that, "I'll look for them one day." Aside from a few brief Google searches, I never really did. I always came up with excuses like, "I don't have the money to pay for an official search..." & actually that's all I would say & leave it at that. Until this year when for some reason, I'm not exactly sure why, probably a combination of things or maybe I was finally just ready, I wanted to actually do this. I made a video on my YouTube channel in April announcing I have begun the search. I'd recently started reading blog post after blog post about Korean adoption & it was both fascinating & a little sad. Some things I related to as if someone knew my most inward, deepest thoughts, other things I had no feeling towards. I sent an email to the adoption agency I came through in Korea - ESWS - two days after uploading the video. They responded fairly quickly with paperwork I needed to fill out, I sent it back & then waited. A little over a month later this was the response I got:
Dear Ms.Cho, Min Seon,
We hope this email finds you well.
We got you the applications for searching for birth parents and asked to KAS (Korea Adoption Services), which is government affiliated organization to find current address of birth parents.
According to a reply from KAS, they couldn't find the information of birth parents.
The information that we have is probably wrong.
In the case, it is hard to search for birth parents.
We feel sorry to send sad news.
Social worker, Post Adoption Service Center
I woke up to this email & while still laying in bed, I cried. & I cried that entire morning while getting ready for work. I kept telling myself to calm down & hold it together partly because I had to leave soon but mainly because I was surprised by my reaction. I was sad for a few weeks after that. I emailed back asking what this means & what else I can do. This was their response:
Dear Ms. Hannah Cho,
We hope this email finds you well.
It is difficult to search for birth parents in this situation but they will pray for you somewhere.
& there you go. This is where I'm at today. I decided to give it a rest for a little bit. The overwhelming sadness I experienced was not expected which is what made it especially overwhelming. I didn't know what would happen when deciding to search but I was definitely hopeful since I had names & a couple pages of documentation. I guess I never anticipated hitting such a dead end so early on. You read & hear so many "happy ending" stories, that that seems to be the norm. I suppose because all the stories left in limbo like mine aren't what people really want to hear. What's frustrating is now I'm left with even more questions & a lot of disappointment that wasn't there before I started this. The question mark that had already existed my whole life is now even bigger.
Last month after being contacted on my Facebook page by another adoptee who happened to see my information on Crowdmap, my drive to continue searching was reignited. He happens to have the same exact birthday as me - same month, day & year - & was adopted through the same agency. He shared some of his story & how after trying to go through ESWS he finally just went to Korea himself, searched for, & found his biological family. Also, have you seen the Twinsters documentary yet? It's currently playing in select cities. I just watched it last week & bawled like a baby.
These two things have motivated me to keep looking. My plan now is to go to Korea (hopefully next year) & continue the search in person. All I have is what I've been told is "probably wrong" information but I'm going to look anyways. I'll keep you updated! Wish me luck!
P.S. I'd love to hear from any fellow adoptees. What's your story? Have you searched? Have you found anything? What has life been like for you?
If you're located in Arizona, this is a Facebook group for Korean Adult Adoptees in AZ.