Adoptee Panel: All your questions answered
When parents are interested in adoption, they can go to an introductory day at Children's Home Society. During the day, one of the events is an Adoptee Panel. I got the opportunity to sit in as one of the three adoptees that was there to answer questions and to shed light on what their potential child may go through.
These are the questions I was asked and my edited and more concise responses.
Please give an idea as to who is in your family of origin (parents, siblings, birth adopted):
Father, Mother, Sister – 3 years older, also adopted from Korea
What country were you born?
Near Iksan, South Korea
Did your family travel to receive you or were you escorted?
During that time, people who were serving in the army in Korea and then coming back to the states would escort babies to their destination. I actually have a picture of the man that brought me!
Personally, I think this offers a lot of families who may be unable to fly based off of health, to still adopt. I do not think my mother would have been able to come get me if that was the requirement.
How did your family talk about adoption?
I was told that I was “adopted” when I was about 5 years old. I remember being told in my current house (the house we moved in before Kindergarten). They gave me a book and said something about adoption. Honestly, I just thought about getting back to the television. Never did I ever care about being “adopted.” I put “adopted” in quotations, because I do not think I understood what the word entirely meant when they told me. I think I just knew that my mom did not give birth to me and that I came from a different country, but when you are that young, I do not think you understand childbirth.
Adoption then was really normal for me. My two older cousins were adopted from Korea and my sister was, so I did have people that “looked” like me. I also attended a summer camp for Korean adoptees or siblings of Korean adoptees.
Besides the summer camp and the initial talk, I do not think adoption was a big taboo subject or a big deal subject. If ever mentioned, it would just be mentioned like an every day topic.
How did your family integrate your birth culture?
They sent me to a week long day summer camp. The camp was for Korean adoptees and siblings of adoptees. Korean Culture Camp would teach you Korean culture, history, games, art, dance, Tae Kwon Do, language, and, the best part, food.
Again, it made it seem like being Korean was normal and being adopted was normal.
Besides that, my family never integrated the culture, but I also never asked about it.
How did your family talk about Race?
Race was never talked about.
Were you ever teased about being adopted?
I was never teased about being adopted.
I was a kid with an eye patch, glasses, and could not say my R’s. I was being teased for A LOT more stuff than being adopted or Asian.
Have you experienced racism? Blatant or microaggressions?
The only time I felt attacked because of my race was when I was in middle school. I would go skiing almost every day after school. During one of those evenings, a boy that would snowboard in our group told me to “go back to my own country.” I was just shocked. I sort of laughed it off, but all my friends shunned him for the rest of the day and told him to say he was sorry. Later, the boy ended up apologizing.
I will always remember that day.
I have been teased for Asian stereotypes:
Not being a good driver
Automatically being good a math or video games
I was also called chink by my friends when they learned the word in an assigned school reading book. I had to inform them the negative meaning of the word and how it made me feel when they called me it. They apologized and did not realize the racism behind it.
Overall racism more shows up when I am traveling abroad, specifically in Asian countries. I have been catcalled in different languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, and other languages I cannot identify. I have been called Asian Face.
In Korea, I am judged more for not knowing the culture and language, because I am ethnically Korean.
Have you traveled back to your birth country?
Yes: In 2015, I moved to Korea, for what I thought would be a year, but ended up to be two. I taught English in Suwon to grade school children. Then the second year, I worked as a Marketing Manager for a start-up called Hyperconnect.
Have you done a birth parent search?
Yes: You can check out my other blogs for details
What are some things parents did well or could have done better to help children grieving the loss of their homeland and birth family?
I never grieved my homeland and birth family. For me, my family are the people who raised me. I have never thought anything else.
How did/could your parents have supported you best in terms of your adoption and racial/cultural background as you were growing up?
I think it would have been nice to know of options to learn more.
If you personally have questions for me about anything! You are always welcome to ask! Just leave me a comment or follow me on Instagram @pineapplemindset