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Nurse:        “Do you have a family history of colitis or colon cancer?”
Me:        “I don’t know.”
Nurse:        “Well colitis is when your body…”
Me:        “No, I know what it is, but I just don’t know if I have any family history of it or not. I was adopted.”
Nurse:        “Oh. You were adopted? At what age?”
Me:        “I was adopted when I was 5 months old.”
Nurse:        “Oh. And you know NO family history? No medical documentations?”
Me:        “Well, no. They normally don’t include that I guess.”
Nurse:        “Oh. Ok? I mean how can you NOT know? Are you sure you don’t have any medical documents?”
Me:        “ummm… yea. No records that I know of.”
Nurse:        “ Well, because you don’t have any family history, I don’t think the doctor is going to be able to help you. But you can ask him.”

Basic questions at doctors appointments are ones that I’m unable to answer. Unfortunately, I actually had to go through a full doctors appointment that involved scrutinizing everything in my past and blaming my unidentified intestinal pain on reasons because they didn’t know my medical background. I don’t know my family history. I don’t have the ability to trace my ancestors back from generation to generation. To know if they’ve had cancer, high blood pressure, colitis, or any other major disease. Questions so simple and easy like, “does depression run in your family?” become a complicated and uneasy question in my mind. The answer that I’m always giving is, “I don’t know” when in my head, I just want those simple questions to end.

When I was five months old, I was put on a plane and flew countries away to meet the people I would soon call family. What was in store for me, I didn’t know. But just like any child at that age, all I wanted and needed was love; and love was something I received but only realized it later in life.

For a long time I conformed myself to be the person everyone wanted me to be. I felt if I changed my personality or changed my clothing, I had a better shot at fitting in. I was different on the outside and thought that’s all that mattered to people. I knew I had to make up for what I was lacking. I ended up being a doormat that would do anything to make people happy and eventually lost myself along the way. I gave up every second of my day if I had to for people that who didn’t care or treat me the way I know I deserved. I was the one that who made every move depending on what people wanted of me. If they needed a ride, I would pick them up no matter the time or drive location. If someone needed a brief moment of love, I was theirs’ to love. If someone needed a friend, I was their to listen and be with for as long as they needed me, but left when I was unwanted.
I understand now that the reason people decided to leave me behind was because of the uncertainty of who I was. I lost myself somewhere along the way and somehow qualities like assertiveness, intelligence, positivity, and happiness became a late memory to me at an early age of about 13. Somehow those characteristics of me got buried admits all the clutter in my life. Dance got thrown on top of it, family got tossed on top of that, friends and school was dropped on it, and boys drowned whatever was left of myself. I let the world eat me until a helpless soul remained.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was beginning to lose track of who I really was. Some times I wonder what it would have been like if I were to have taken a different road of self-confidence. Would I be a different person today? Would I have more strength in my actions? Would I have been happier? Looking back on my past I’ve realized all the errors I made as a kid and wish I would have had someone there telling me that it’s okay if you’re not the thinnest, or the coolest. Oh wait. I did. I just chose to ignored it. I fought my parents on everything and caved into societies norm. The way I wore my clothes, the way I did my hair, the way I wore my makeup, I listened to what was positively accepted by the mass consumption of the world.
I remember in 6th grade, everyone was coloring their hair blonde. Oh my god, that is all I ever wanted. I was DETERMINED to color my hair a different color! Get rid of some evidence that I was Korean. I refused to talk to my parents until they agreed to let me color it. I’m pretty sure with my track record, it only lasted about an hour or so before I went into a fiery of rage demanding I could color my hair. I lost. It was a classic case of girl caving into trends, pop culture, and loosing her identity.
It’s sad to say I cut off my mid-back length, wavy hair before my parents tried showing me it was okay to be me. Honestly, I know by 6th grade my peers had a hold of my every move, but I don’t truly remember what it’s like to have a “virgin” mind so to speak. I don’t remember what it’s like to feel as though the world is worth fighting for and everyone is kind and loving. I mean I feel that now, but when you’re a child, it’s different. You haven’t experienced the things that have led you to your life right now. Your mind is fresh, it’s strong, it’s open to the unknown, it’s moldable.
I want to be able to remember what it’s like to have a mind that hasn’t been touched by, the “cool kids”, the movie stars with all the money in the world, the fighting between countries, the boys who wouldn’t give you a second look even if you asked, the demand for money, and the check list seems endless. It seems as though you can’t avoid the tornadoes and hurricanes. While this is all true for everyone living, I somehow felt I was the exception because I physically looked different.
I’m Asian. According to the stereotypes I’m supposed to be about 5 feet tall or smaller, weigh about 100 pounds, be incredibly intelligent in mathematics, science, and reading. Also, I’m suppose to love rice (fried rice in particular), “love you long time”, have squinty eyes and a flat nose. Well I’m 25 who is 5’4”, 125 pounds, number dyslexic, horrible in science and well, and hated reading until the age of 18. I do like rice but that’s because it’s the only type of grain I can eat considering I have a gluten and dairy allergy with a sensitivity to fructose. I lost my virginity at age 21, and would consider myself to have pretty big brown eyes. I do have a nose, whether it’s flat or not, well I have learned it doesn’t matter it does the same function as everyone else’s, it smells. I unfortunately can’t “love you long time” because I have a fear of opening my heart and showing people how I feel. I’m working on that everyday now, but have a greatest fear of people leaving me. To protect myself from that, I don’t open up. When in all actuality, they end up leaving because I can’t open myself. I think I go against the stereotypes.
I was blessed with a family who gave me a life filled with endless possibilities, endless hope, dreams, and wishes. I was brought into a world that gave me everything I could ever dream of. Getting the childhood I deserved, filled with laughter, games, smiles, traveling and always encouraged to do what my heart wanted to do.
Simple things like braces, schooling, and extra curricular activities were encouraged. From the surface, we looked like a picture perfect family. When I was little I remember being in our backyard and my sister and I would be playing on our brand new Rainbow swing set with our names engraved on the front, Katie and Molly’s Castle. Every time I got on those multicolored swings I felt like I could reach the stars. When I slid down the electric yellow slide, I felt as if I were invincible to the world and the only challenge I faced was the monkey bars which left blisters on my small and stubby hands.
We’ve traveled across the world, with pictures to remind us how lucky we are to have that luxury. I can literally say that ever since I was born, I have been on the move. Starting with the flight to the states from Korea, all across the US, all around Europe, and so many other locations, I’d say I’m pretty lucky. I’ve learned how important traveling is in my life and the feeling of moving is something that lives in my blood. A constant move for me is something I crave and with the support of my family, we’re able to take vacations twice, sometimes three, four or five times a year.
Family dinners were spent together almost every night, and family gatherings were on a regular basis. We are tightly bound. I was given opportunities to follow my dreams as a dancer by going to an art school which had a program designed for dancers. Sent to a college to continue in dreams which would constantly change. With each change and struggle in my life, this family that I once knew nothing about has stood by my side no matter the situation I’ve been put in.
So, why I ask is it that come my birthday, or my arrival day do I forget the blessings in my life and stop to think why was I given up on?

For many that are unfamiliar to arrival days, it’s the day your adopted family got you, the day you arrived to your new family, the day you were welcomed home. In our household, we call it our gotcha day. Mine October 6th and my sisters October 10th.  For most families, gotcha days are a happy day that is reflected by thanking their lucky stars for the gift of their child that was blessed into their lives. For me, while my family always makes it special by giving us gifts that reflect our Korean background, doing activities we enjoy, and dinners of our liking; in my eyes, I think, “This was the day that I really left my maybe family.”
The love I have been given by my family is more than one child could ever dream of and more. The friends I have been given good or bad, have lead me to be a better person in the end. The challenges, the joy and passion I now have for life is so remarkable, I now almost feel guilty for ever wondering “why me?”

Questions like, Why was I given up and then saved? (should I now believe in God?) Why did they let me go? (Could they not afford me? Was she too young? Did they simply not want me?) Do I have his eyes? Her smile? (what other similarities are there? Same laugh? Same smile? My inability to do math?) Are there siblings who were given up too? (why did they get to stay with you and not me? Do I look like them? Share any same traits?)

They’re such bitter sweet questions that have me sketch every possible question, every possible scenario, and I end up losing myself for a split second.

The questions continue with, “Would I be different? Would I have fit in better if I stayed in Korea? Would I be the same or better if I stayed?” The questions are endless and I’ve come to the realization that with each question there’s always another that follows, but the outcome is always the same. I am here, sitting in my bed surrounded with endless love.
It’s a constant battle in my head. One side wants to say, I never want to meet them in my life. They didn’t want me, so why should I feel the need to want them? The other half is curiosity which is screaming with questions that need to be answered. (or should they?) Maybe I’m better off not knowing in the end. Would I even be able to find them? How would I communicate with them if I did ever find them? What I want to know and what I should know are two different subjects which in the end, leave me in a sea of what ifs and a constant state of confusion.
I know I have been blessed with a family that would never leave my side. A kind of love that seems like it’s only found on the big screen. A kind of love that is never ending. I have a family who will never give up on me so why do I ever wonder if they ever loved me? (if they really loved me, they wouldn’t have given me away) Why do I wonder why I was given up? (but I have been given such a wonderful life) Why do I wonder if they ever think of me and who I’ve turned out to be, and if they would be proud of the women that stands here today?

I don’t know why I do, but putting it in simpler words, this is how I think about it.

On the day I was born, the second I left the womb, I was handed off into a place where a mother was only temporary. Who knows if I was ever held by her, or him, or if I was just given away immediately. I know for a fact I was placed into a foster care system and five months later I was put on a plane to be shipped to a family that looked beautiful on paper but who knew what was really in store. From the second I was brought onto this planet, I wasn’t wanted. I don’t understand how I wasn’t wanted.

Thoughts like that are only small fragments of what goes on in the midst of my mind during days of birthdays and arrival days. It should be a thought of thankfulness and joy and happiness but is clouded by questions that seem to put a damper on what’s been given to me in return. As the years pass in front of me, I stop and finally realize all the blessings I have been given and slowly do the thoughts of leaving conquer my mind.
What I’ve finally been able to understand is that I was wanted. Even before I was born, I was wanted. I was wanted by a family who had so much love to give that it needed to be shared with others. I was dreamt of, planned on, and was worth taking a bet on. I was wanted in the most heart wrenching way possible. I was needed. There was a family that felt so much love for another human being that they had never met. That human was me.
I will never be able to call him or her mother or father for the sake I have already been given one of each as well as a sister. I have a mother who shows love in all her intentions with phone calls to make sure I’m doing okay, to a big bear hug when my world seems to be falling apart. I have a father who is caring and understanding, who is there to listen when I’m in need of help or frustration. Who shows his love by doing all he can to make my dreams come true. I have a sister who is also adopted but even though we’re not biological, our love is stronger than any “blood sister” I’ve ever known. Our family isn’t typical, it isn’t generations of same blood and genetics, but taking a step away I’ve realized that family doesn’t mean sharing the same traits or diseases, it’s the love and understanding between them that keeps them tightly bound.
.       .       .       .       .
When I was a 16, and even still to this day, my parents and some friends think I still struggle with adoption. I continue to tell them I have accepted who I am. I’m okay with the fact I’m adopted. I have accepted it and I know I was meant for something great. What I AM afraid of is people leaving me. When they do, it’s normally my fault. Maybe my fear of people leaving is rooted down to adoption. Some of my other struggles I once had about adoption have defiantly been demolished.
Whenever people leave my life I start to wonder, is it because of me? Every time people leave me, I always stop and wonder, is there something about me that makes people pick up and leave? I believe my birth parents decided before I was born to put me up for adoption, but there is still a haunting idea that I wasn’t wanted. They had no purpose for me with them so they had to leave me. While their intentions may have been for a good reason, I was still abandoned. Those dramatic thoughts have been removed from my mind, but maybe everyone is right, maybe the struggles I do have come from a source of adoption. So, when people leave my life to begin a new path, I always stop to wonder if it’s because of me.
Around the months of April and November I can’t seem to snap out of it. Everyone that chooses a different path away from me feels like they’re running away from me and then I decide to bolt. When will be the day when someone will want me to stay? When will be the day that I will be the one who will have it all?
I guess that’s something everyone thinks about, but to a certain degree. The day that someone will stay is the day you let them stay. The day when you have it all is the day you realize you can have it all. Coming to that realization might be a struggle and a challenge, but like I say, with every success, there is always a challenge. You’ll always have challenges in life but its the way you handle them and the way you come out of them is what matters the most. Loosing yourself is a part of life for most teenagers and young adults, but by finding yourself again and becoming the person you know you can be is all that really matters. The struggles you had to conquer to get there is only half the ride.
Every once and a while do I think about my birth parents, adoption, and if the reason why I have a fear of commitment is because even before I was born they made the decision to run away from me. Every once and a while I’m filled with frustration, hurt, questions, and pain but then I find all I want is a piece of mind with the ones that let me go. I’m not sure if I’ll ever see them again, or if I’ll ever meet them. I have no idea if I’ll ever get my questions answered, or if I do meet them if we’ll share a connection. Until then, I’m letting the ones who have been there for me and the ones who have supported me through thick and thin fill my life because they’re the ones who will never leave me alone.
To the ones that have been adopted, at whatever age it might have been, where are you now? The life you could have had might be something that is questioned but what you’re given with today it’s something you should be proud of. With every struggle and challenge you have overcome has helped create you. You are surrounded by people that love you and you have people around you that love you and only want the best for you. If things aren’t the way you planned them to be, make it better and do something about it to make you happy. It’s your life and you should be living it for you and no one else.

Adoption
Some days I wonder whether I resemble him or her.
Some times I daydream of what my life could’ve been.
Other days I often want to know if there are others that share my same DNA.

I’ve fought with anger, frustration, guilt, and anxiety.
I’ve faced the one in the mirror who hates the reflection aimlessly staring back.
Today, I’m thankful for the life that has been laid before me.

A mother who would take down an army to protect her young.
A father whose strength is inspiring.
A sister that’s beauty and kindness could comfort any broken soul.

Some people ask if I want to find my real parents.
I tell them,
I already have them.

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