Searching for my family in South Korea

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Searching in Intercountry Adoption series. These individual stories are being shared from our 원근법 종이 that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

~에 의해 Samara James, born in South Korea, raised in Australia

artwork by Samara

When I first moved to South Korea back in 2008, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to locate my birth family. How do you know whether you want to unlock the biggest mysteries of your life? How do you know if you are ready for it? For me, it was a curiosity, but for my Korean friends, they seemed determined to make the reunion a reality with an almost feverish determination. This is what really propelled the search for my birth family, and despite not really understanding what that would mean or preparing for what may happen, I agreed to do the search. Ann Babe, breaks down the attitudes toward gyopos into three types. She described the first as, “A person that’s older who is sort of angry about you being a Korean but not being fully Korean.” There are the “people who seem flummoxed and simply incapable of grasping your background” but then there are also those who are “very friendly and helpful” but sometimes “overbearing when they try to convert you or reform you” (Wiggin, 2010). My Korean friend (who was also my boss) was this third type. As an older sister figure to me in Korea (or unnie) she took me under her wing and introduced me to Korean life; eventually the reunion between myself and my birth family became her personal mission. My adoptive parents were concerned about me locating my birth family. I knew they didn’t really want me to do it. My mother used to watch movies about adoptees reuniting with their birth families and choosing to stay and live with them, as if they were horror movies, “You would never do that would you?” she used to ask me. I had always promised I wouldn’t but when I asked for my adoption paperwork, I knew in a way I was betraying them. 

My paperwork was scarce to say the least, a piece of paper with my parents’ names dates of birth, the name I was issued by the adoption agency, and the province I was born in, translated into English that only led to dead-ends and we exhausted most of my options quickly. Leanne Lieth, founder of Korean Adoptees for Fair Records Access, explains, “Access to our Korean records is dependent upon whether the adoptee knows that there are duplicate or original records in Korea, that those records may have additional information… and that the adoptee has the will and tenacity to investigate across continents and languages with the often uncooperative and hostile Korean international adoption agencies. This process is arbitrary, inconsistent, and can drag out for years” (Dobbs, 2011). According to Dobbs (2011), “There are no laws sealing or regulating adoption files, which are technically agency private property. The agencies could burn the records if they wanted.” Eventually, my friend convinced me to go on a Korean reality TV show where adoptees can make a public plea for any information that may help to locate their families. Say your Korean name into the camera, she said. I had never used my Korean name before. “My name is Kim Soo-Im. If you have any information about my biological family”… the rest was a blur. Before I knew it, we had found them. 

After declining to film the reunion on air, we drove to meet my birth family. I had no idea what I was walking into, or even where we were. I didn’t expect to have family, I thought I was an orphan but when I walked in the door, I was taken aback to see almost 20 relatives – mother, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents who were all crying inconsolably. I didn’t understand. My friend was so excited and I was completely at a loss for how to react. I didn’t have any questions prepared, I think I was still in a state of shock. All I could think was, why couldn’t I have stayed here? Why are they crying when they abandoned me? 

My friend did the introductions in Korean, and it was only then I realised, she wouldn’t be able to bridge the linguistic and cultural gaps between us. I struggled to understand most of what was said, but a few things came through. I looked like my father who had died a few years earlier. I guessed by my mother’s age, that he may have been in his 40’s at the time. They couldn’t explain to me how he died exactly, but I inferred by their hand signals it was something to do with the chest – I hope it isn’t hereditary. I was told that I have two siblings (who were also put up for adoption) and I was the last of the three children to reunite with the family. My brother who was there, didn’t say anything to me that day. Apparently, he could speak English, but I guess chose not to. I have no idea what he was thinking or what his story was. My sister wasn’t there, when I asked where she was, the reply was “she’s gone”. I couldn’t figure out what ‘gone’ meant. Was she missing? Was she dead? 

My birth mother plead with my friend to tell me that she regretted putting me up for adoption and that she tried everything to undo it. She didn’t know I was sent overseas. My friend looked so overjoyed, but I wasn’t sure what to say, I couldn’t understand. I thought she didn’t want me, I was told I had been abandoned after birth. I was prepared for rejection but regret, despair, shame, longing I didn’t know what to do with. I sat there silently for what felt like hours, then the family asked if I was staying to re-join the family and asked if I would help take care of my ageing mother. Everyone was looking at me expectantly. It was at this point I felt something shutdown inside me, and I told them that I was going to go back to Australia. My birth mother asked if I would sleep over that night and let her hold me. I declined. I wanted to enter that world, but I didn’t know how. It’s something that still haunts me. This part of my life had been closed for over 20 years, and for those moments when I opened it again, I didn’t know what to do. I had never felt so useless, so I closed it again as quickly as possible and I haven’t spoken to them again. This was 15 years ago. 

Behar (1996) who talks about ‘roots’ and ‘routes’, asks how do you return to a home that is lost? How do you reckon with what you uncover? What are you really returning to? What does it offer? Digging through old paintings, I find a self-portrait from when I was a teenager. Half human and half tree, floating above a dark ocean. My roots are exposed and I’m crying the sea of tears that I’m floating above. If I was trying to replant my roots, I was experiencing transplant shock. I didn’t know how to process what had happened. Returning to my office after our reunion, I found a large box of dried squid on my desk. “It’s from your family, they really must love you” my friend exclaimed. I am still at a loss to what that means. What a cruel irony, I had spent my life trying to blend in with my peers in Australia, trying to belong as an Australian. It was all I ever wanted. But in those moments, I wish I could have been Korean. Korean enough to understand what my family was saying and the meaning and context behind it. Now I’m so Australian that it feels like I’ve locked myself out of that world. 

15 years later, looking back from a point in my life where I realise the gravity of what I dug into and how it lingers in my subconscious as an unresolved part of my life. Now that I understand a little more about Korean culture, the adoption system, and the impossible choices my birth mother would have faced, I have finally come to a point where I want to try and reconnect with them again. I realise now that the birth family search is not about guaranteeing a fairy-tale ending, but it’s about opening yourself to something. This time I’ll go in with a completely open mind and heart, no expectations and an adoption specialising translator. I just hope my birth mother’s still alive so I can properly meet her this time.

Samara James (Kim Soo Im)

참고문헌

Behar, R., 1996. Anthropology that breaks your heart. The Vulnerable Observer. 

Dobbs, J.K., 2011. Ending South Korea’s Child Export Shame. [Online]. Foreign Policy in Focus. Last Updated: 23 June 2011. Available at: https://fpif.org/ending_south_koreas_child_export_shame/ 

Wiggin, T., 2010. South Korea’s complicated embrace of gyopo. Los Angeles Times. [Online]. 14 February 2010. Available at https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2010-feb-14-la-fg-korea-return14-2010feb14-story.html. 

Coming Next: Searching for my family in Romania

자원

국제 입양에서의 탐색과 재결합

베트남에서 가족 찾기

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Searching in Intercountry Adoption series. These individual stories are being shared from our 원근법 종이 that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

~에 의해 Huyen Friedlander, born in Vietnam, raised in the USA

On Sunday, I learned that my birthfather had died. I’m still sifting through how that feels, a unique kind of loss of a parent. Even though we reunited over 20 years ago, there was still a lot left unspoken, and maybe a lot that we didn’t know or understand about each other. We met in-person twice. The first time was shortly after 9/11. I had his contact information for almost a year, but I wasn’t ready to reach out. Knowing that he lived in New Jersey, so close to NYC where the towers fell, I felt a sense of urgency that I shouldn’t waste any more time. I called on a Friday night. I left a voicemail that my name was Huyen and that I thought he had been a friend of my family in Viet Nam. The next morning, he returned my call. 

In the first few seconds of our conversation, I said my name again, said who my birthmother was and said, “I think you may be my birthfather.” Immediately, without any hesitation, he said, “I think I am, too.” That was an enormous gift to me. No denial. No defensiveness. “I thought you and your mother had died.” 

He had been told by an army connection that my mother had died trying to make it to Thailand, and that I had died in the Babylift crash. He said he had wanted to marry my birthmother, but wasn’t allowed to because her family had originally been from the North. 

It felt so surreal to finally have this information, a little window into what had happened. Within a few weeks, I was headed to the East Coast with my adoptive father, my husband and my 17-month-old son in tow. I was about two months pregnant with my daughter at the time. My birthfather and his wife greeted us at a restaurant, with a hug and flowers in hand. After dinner, they were gracious and invited us home for cannoli and a chance to visit more. 

At the house, I was excited to meet my half-sister, who was also the mother of a young son. My birthfather brought out a photograph of me, probably at about 2 years old, a pristine copy of a tattered photo that my birthmother’s sister had held on to for 20 years in Viet Nam. We never did DNA testing; this picture that they had both saved was proof enough. My birthfather also gave me a gold cross that my birthmother had given to him before he left Viet Nam, to protect him on his way home. Similarly, when my birthmother took me to the Friends of the Children of Viet Nam in Saigon to relinquish me, she had put a St. Christopher’s medallion on a string and tied it tight around my neck, to protect me in my new life. Giving me the photograph and the cross felt generous and thoughtful. 

Over the next decade, we checked in periodically by letters or telephone. By the time we would meet in person again, I was widowed, a single mother of two young adolescent children. Having lost my husband, I again felt some urgency in making sure that my kids would meet their biological grandfather. And again, my birthfather was gracious in saying yes to my request. Our visit was sweet and the kids thought he and his wife were fun and kind. Before we left, my birthfather gifted us with an ornate serving set that he had brought back with him from Viet Nam. 

Following that visit, much of our communication happened through Facebook, with occasional comments on each other’s posts. Facebook allowed us to see aspects of each other’s lives in a very natural way. I got a tiny idea of his sense of humour, his love of fishing and model trains. Facebook also happens to be the primary way that I maintain contact with my birthmother; we FaceTime and she sees my posts and photographs.

I didn’t want to post anything about my birthfather’s death on Facebook until I had the opportunity to FaceTime my birthmother in Viet Nam to let her know. During that initial visit with my birthfather in 2001, he told my dad that my birthmother had been his first love. This was a gift to hear, even knowing the sad outcome for them, because in some way it validated my birthmother’s faith that he would come back for us. She waited for eight years. 

In my reunion video with my birthmother (five years before I found my birthfather), we are sitting at my grandparents’ dining room table. She is beaming at me, with an arm around me, and laughing, she says, “Beaucoup love made you! Yeah, beaucoup love made you.” When she looked at me, she saw him. She’d point to my features and say, “Same! Same!” It seemed to bring her joy, to see him in my face. 

I was nervous to call her tonight to tell her the news. I asked my dear friend Suzie to join the call to help translate. I spoke in English, “My birthfather has died. X died. I am so sorry.” And immediately, she let out a mournful cry. Even though my birthmother eventually married and had five more children—the foundation and joy of her life—my birthfather held a special place in her heart as her first love. For a year in their young lives, they had loved each other a lot. 

Suzie helped to translate the details that I’ve heard before. It was wartime. There was nothing they could do to be together. 50 years later, my birthfather’s passing is a loss to my birthmother. As a devout Catholic, she is praying for him now. There was a lot I didn’t know about my birthfather, and I would still like to know more, but I can also be at peace with what I know. 

For now, I’m staying grounded in the gratitude that I feel for having found him, gratitude that he recognised me, and gratitude for the opportunities that I had to connect with him and his family. I’m saying a prayer for his wife and family as they navigate this loss.

Coming Next: Searching for my family in South Korea

자원

국제 입양에서의 탐색과 재결합

중국에서 가족 찾기

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Searching in Intercountry Adoption series. These individual stories are being shared from our 원근법 종이 that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

~에 의해 셸리 로텐버그, born in China, raised in Canada, www.shelleyrottenberg.ca

I was adopted from Zhejiang, China to Ontario, Canada in 1996 when I was 8 months old. In one of my adoption documents, it says, “Our institution has looked for her parents and relatives by all means, but no trace can be found.” To this day, I still know nothing about my biological family. 

About 5 years ago I decided to act on my growing curiosity about my birth family. While I know the odds of finding them are very slim, especially because I don’t have any information to go on, I couldn’t help but at least try. The first step was a 23andMe DNA ancestry kit, gifted to me by my mom as a Christmas present. I carefully read the instructions in the box to make sure I did everything correctly, then sent off my saliva sample. My sister, who is also an adoptee from China, did one too. And then we waited. 

I remember being eager to get the results back because of the hope of having a DNA match with someone else in their database. At the time, the waiting period was about 6-8 weeks. Though after 2 months, instead of my results, I got an email with the subject line, “Your 23andMe Analysis was unsuccessful.” I was told that “the concentration of DNA was insufficient to produce genotyping results.” Luckily, I was sent a replacement kit and got a second chance to submit another saliva sample. Having followed the instructions correctly the first time, and without any further guidance on how to do things differently, I repeated the same steps and sent my sample once again. 

After another long 2-month wait, my heart sank as I read the same email subject line as the last one. Except for this time, they would not be sending me another replacement kit. The email explained that because of “the second low DNA failure” and there being “no additional steps that would increase the chance of success,” a full refund would be available to me. I was shocked and saddened by the news and confused too. I had done the exact same thing as my sister, yet she received her results back after the first attempt.

When I told a friend about the situation, she suggested I lightly chew my inner cheeks before spitting into the tube because buccal cells have a higher concentration of DNA. Determined to give it one last shot, I purchased another 23andMe ancestry kit with the refund they gave me and followed my friend’s advice. The saying, “third time’s a charm” held true in these circumstances because, after another 2 months, my third sample was a success!

All this waiting only heightened my anticipation, which probably contributed to my slight disappointment when I saw that I had no close relative DNA matches. It’s been 5 years now, and while I have over 900 distant relatives, all with less than 1% DNA shared, the number of close relatives is still zero. I have also since uploaded my raw data to GEDmatch and still no luck. 

Another search method I’ve tried is adding my information to a birth family search poster specific to the province I was adopted from. I did this 3 years ago through International Child Search Alliance (ICSA), a volunteer group of adoptees and adoptive parents. Their province search posters are shared widely on Chinese social media and in the past, they partnered with Zhejiang Family Seeking Conference and ZuyuanDNA for an in-person event. 

Getting my information added to the poster took about 3 months, partly because of the time it took me to make a WeChat account, gather the necessary information, and translate some of my adoption paperwork. The other reason for the timing was that ICSA’s update schedule for province search posters is three times a year.

Through the WeChat group for my province, I was able to connect with a woman from Zhejiang who wanted to help overseas adoptees. With great thanks to her, I was able to get my information on Baobei Huijia (Baby Come Home), a Chinese site run by volunteers to help find missing children. 

I learned of GEDmatch, ICSA and Baobei Huijia through the online adoptee/adoption community, which I discovered across various Facebook groups in 2018. Connecting with other adoptees and adoptive parents who are further along and more experienced in the birth family search journey has been extremely helpful. 

My mom has also been a huge help in her own efforts of searching for resources and information about birth family searching. Though most of all, her complete support for me throughout this process is what matters most. She hopes that I can find my biological family and relatives because she knows how important it is to me. 

We have discussed taking the next step of hiring a root finder or searcher. Though once I began to seriously consider this method, it didn’t seem like the right time. One searcher that my mom had reached out to in 2020 said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, foot traffic was not as high as it used to be, and therefore paying for physical posters to be distributed in my city or province in China may have even lower chances of bringing about any success.

Also, the process of hiring a searcher or organisation seemed quite daunting to me because it is hard to know whom to go with and which services to pay for. Packages greatly differ in terms of how in-depth the search process is and prices can easily be hundreds of dollars. And at the end of the day, the odds of finding my birth family, even with professional help, are very low.

I do plan to go back to China one day for a heritage trip and would incorporate searching for birth family into that. While my active search efforts are paused for now, this is a lifelong journey, so I can pick back up whenever I want to. It’s nice to know that through my other initial search methods, the opportunity for a match is always possible, even without me doing anything. 

However, I do worry that by waiting to pursue additional active search methods, I might be making the process more difficult the longer time goes on. I don’t know if my orphanage has any adoption paperwork other than what I currently have and would hate for those documents to be destroyed. I also fear the possibility of birth family members dying, especially biological parents and grandparents. This thought crossed my mind when COVID-19 cases and deaths were high in China. 

On the other hand, I don’t know if I’m emotionally prepared for the can of worms that can come with more intensive searching and then a possible reunion. I know of adoptees who contacted their birth families, only to be rejected. Then there are others who have very complicated reunions and relationships. Though even considering the endless possibilities and the fact that I might never fully be ready, I still think searching and finding something unexpected is better than knowing nothing at all. 

My advice to other adoptees who are considering searching for their birth family is to make sure you have a solid support system to lean on during this process. I also recommend personally reflecting on your motivations for searching and what you want to get out of it. Lastly, do your research on search options and leverage the existing resources and lived experiences of others who are already familiar with this. I recommend joining the CCI Birth Parent Searching and Reunion Group on Facebook for any Chinese adoptees looking to start this journey.

Thanks for reading and best of luck to my fellow searching adoptees!

Coming Next: 베트남에서 가족 찾기

자원

국제 입양에서의 탐색과 재결합

콜롬비아에서 가족 찾기

The following blog series will be dedicated to our Searching in Intercountry Adoption series. These individual stories are being shared from our 원근법 종이 that was also shared with our Webinar, Searching in Intercountry Adoption by Adoptee Experts.

~에 의해 Jose Taborda, born in Colombia, raised in the USA

First journal entry by my adoptive mother

In the spring of 1978, I was born in Medellin, Colombia. Separated from my first family by adoption, I was brought by my adoptive parents to New Jersey and grew up with my younger adoptive sister in a Northern New Jersey suburb just outside of New York City.

I was lucky as an adoptee because my adoptive parents made a conscious decision to talk to me about my adoption from an early age. They attended a couple of workshops about adopting a child offered by an adoption agency prior to my adoption where they had been counselled to inform me as soon as possible about my adoption so as to normalise it for me. This advice informed their approach in terms of collecting information and artefacts of my adoption. This included stories of my adoption in Colombia in the form of journal entries written by my adoptive mother, a photograph of my first mother, and my adoption records containing identifying information about my first mother. 

Upon refection, it wasn’t just luck and good advice, my parents were compassionate people who made the decision to share what they knew about my origins with me throughout my life. They had the right instincts that led them not only to send me a dossier containing every artefact about my adoption while I was in college and I first expressed an interest in searching, but also to support my search when I began. 

 When I moved to New York City in my mid-twenties, I started searching. At the time, I had a Yahoo! Email account and noticed that it offered searchable interest groups. There was a group called Colombian Adoptee Search and Support (CASAS), which gathered many people like me: twenty-something Colombian adoptees who grew up around New York City and living in the area! I was shocked to find hundreds of people who were sharing resources about searching, so I started making connections and attending meetups and dinners in Brooklyn and Manhattan where we enjoyed sharing stories and Latino fare. 

Through these meetups, I had gotten the contact information of a private investigator in Medellin with whom I started to interact about my search. Because I had identifying information about my first mother, it took him two weeks to find her. A couple weeks after that, I had my first phone call with her. As one can imagine, finding my first mother within a month of beginning my search was all a whirlwind and very overwhelming. My excitement got the best of me, and I dove right into making plans for a reunion. Well, all of this came as a shock to my adoptive mother and sister, who weren’t as excited as me. They felt threatened by my news. I remember spending a lot of time convincing them that I wasn’t trying to replace them, but rather, it would be an opportunity to learn about my origins. They were not convinced that it was so simple. Searching for first family by adoptees may bring up many past trauma wounds for all members of the adoption constellation. I have heard stories of adoptees shying away from doing any searching while their adoptive parents are still alive due to the raw emotions around adoption that are very rarely acknowledged and dealt with during an adoptive family’s time living together. And when the possibility of a reunion arises, adoptees may find themselves having to reckon with these complicated emotions. This reckoning is not our responsibility as adoptees, but it may be an unanticipated and unwelcome reality that adoptees must face when searching and reuniting with first family.

Coincidentally, the film “Las Hijas” was going to be screened. It was timely that Maria Quiroga, a local filmmaker, was releasing the film profiling three female Colombian adoptees and their reunions with first family.  So I invited my mother and sister to join me. It was an interesting experience because the filmmaker handled the subject matter responsibly in presenting the reality of how complicated reunions between adoptees and first family can be. It helped to see this objective perspective on the emotionally charged situation that was playing out for us. It provided a context for our sensitive conversations, and it helped us to understand that we were not the only ones experiencing the feelings we were. Despite all of that, we continued to have conversations that required my soothing their frayed feelings around my upcoming reunion. 

One thing that stands out for me now sixteen years later as I reflect on my reunion as a young man, is that I did not pursue any mental health support to guide me on that complicated endeavour. In my local adoptee community, the discussion was more centred on the topic of search and reunion in my memory and not as much on adoption mental health issues. However, I acknowledge there is a high likelihood my antenna wasn’t tuned to that particular signal, so to speak. More recently, I have read a lot of highly-respected literature about adoption and mental health including 원초적인 상처 by Nancy Verrier and 입양된 자아의 여정 by Betty Jean Lifton to name a couple of outstanding examples. I am a regular listener to adoptee podcasts including 입양인 with host Haley Radke and 적응 with host Kaomi Lee among others. I have met many adoptees and I am lucky to live close to an adoptee organization called Also Known As, Inc. that hosts meet ups for transracial, intercountry adoptees. Wise adoptees and adoption professionals these days counsel adoptees who are engaged in reunion to set some boundaries that include having a third-party present during reunion meetings, not staying with first family right away, and pursuing therapy before, during, and after reunion. I did none of those things. 

All of this gathering of resources and self-education on the intersection of adoption and mental health has demonstrated to me that I took a very impetuous, uninformed, and quite risky path on my reunion journey. I stayed with my first mother and her family for three weeks at their home in an outlying municipality of Medellin. I do have very positive memories from my first visit in 2006 that led me to return in the two subsequent years. However, somewhere down the line some members of my first family started to develop expectations that involved money. It was not much at first, but, with time, their boldness grew. This expectation made me uncomfortable because I didn’t want to have to explain to any of them that I am a professional in a field that is not very highly-compensated. To them, I was just the more fortunate one who was able to escape their humble circumstances. No matter how difficult my personal situation was, they are right that I had many more opportunities in the U.S. than they did in Colombia, but I did not feel that it was my responsibility to have to provide for them. I wanted to just get to know them knowing that it would take time to develop a family bond. Truly, I faced hard feelings when they asked for money and that made things very confusing for me. While I know that my experience is not unique, I wished that it wasn’t part of my reunion story. At some point, I stopped contacting them because it all became too much for me. This is where an intervention such as adoption-focused therapy would have been helpful. 

Some years passed and I turned the page on my adoption by quite literally ceasing to think about my adoption and pausing all the actions I had taken to learn about my origins during my twenties. I turned thirty, I got married and became a new father, and I wanted to focus on my new family in Brooklyn. I was also in graduate school, so juggling responsibilities was the theme starting in 2010. Since that time, a lot has changed.

Nowadays, I am divorced, I am co-parenting a budding teenager, and I have settled into a career as a college educator. As I moved into middle-age, I became more introspective, and I found myself interrogating some difficult feelings that felt like depression and anxiety. When I realised that I did not have easy answers to that line of inquiry, I began searching for ways to remove barriers to happiness that had started showing up. It started to dawn on me that my adoption may be the cause of some of my bad decisions in life and the source of a feeling of malaise that crept in every now and again. I remember once sitting on a beach in the Rockaways with my best friend and confidant of many years and reflecting out loud that I should look into therapy for adoption to try to answer some nagging questions. 

About six months after that conversation in 2021, I got around to doing some basic internet searching and was amazed by what I found. There was so much work that had been done in the intervening years since I started my search. As I previously mentioned, I went down a path of self-education, I engaged in some adoption-focused group therapy, and I have been attending online and in-person support groups made up of adoptees since that discovery. I have learned so much about myself and adoption since I started to reconnect to my adopted-self. Some of it has been difficult, but I am very happy to have opened myself up to feel, meditate, inquire, grieve, and build community. It is cliche, but I wish I knew during my reunion and prior what I know now. 

In short, I hope that adoptees who are on the bold path of searching and reuniting with first family will take careful, well-informed steps. I know from my experience that there are no easy answers, and reunion may be when many hard questions rise to the surface. However, that search for the discovery and recovery of self and identity is worth it all because even if one does not find first family, there is so much to learn about oneself along the way. 

I hope that adoptees take the time to explore all of the particular intersections of adoption and mental health including, but not limited to, the Primal Wound theory, the post-traumatic stress implications of adoption, ambiguous loss, and the Adoptee Consciousness Model. Most definitely read the two books by Verrier and Lifton previously mentioned. Check out Damon Davis’ podcast Who Am I Really?, and the two others previously mentioned. Read JaeRan Kim’s brilliant blog 할로우의 원숭이. If looking for a therapist in the U.S., check out Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker’s adoptee therapist directory curated on her website Grow Beyond Words. If one does not have the money to pursue therapy, there are plenty of books, podcasts, and support groups that could provide information and resources helpful in informing decisions around searching, finding, and reunion with first family. Just start checking out all of the amazing resources on Lynelle Long’s comprehensive treasure of a website 국가간 입양인의 목소리. Search on Facebook for a group you can join that holds online support groups, or, even better, search for a local group in your area to meet up in person with adoptees. A great place to search for a local group in the USA is on Pamela A. Karanova’s website Adoptees Connect

The above is just a cursory glance at some of the most salient resources I have found that have nourished my soul as I step into more consciousness about my adoption on my journey of self-discovery. My greatest hope is that someone reading these words may find something in them to hold onto. 

Coming Next: 중국에서 가족 찾기

자원

국제 입양에서의 탐색과 재결합

입양인 전문가 웨비나에 의한 해외 입양 검색

On 23 April 2023, ICAV ran a panel webinar to bring you the expertise of our Search professionals around the world, sharing their best words of wisdom for what to consider when undergoing searching in intercountry adoption. They directly represented adoptee organisations from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sth Korea, Haiti, Colombia and Greece.

Watch the webinar here:
참고: Chrome에서 보는 경우 동영상을 보려면 자세히 알아보기 버튼을 클릭하세요.

Timecode

For those who are time poor and want to skip to the sections that are relevant, here is a timecode to assist:

00:20 Intro, Welcome, Purpose
04:30 Intro of panelists
04:39 Marcia Engel
06:48 Rebecca Payot
09:29 Jonas Desír
10:25 Linda Carol Trotter
12:55 Kayla Curtis
15:22 Hilbrand Westra
17:44 Benoît Vermeerbergen
21:00 Celin Fässler

Questions / Answers

23:28 What does the general search process involve? – Kayla
27:30 What should adoptees to do prepare? – Linda, Marcia
35:51 What are some of the outcomes? – Jonas, Kayla, Linda
46:50 Some possible barriers to expect? – Rebecca, Linda
56:51 What ethics to consider? – Marcia, Kayla
1:06:40 What should a search cost? – Rebecca, Linda, Celin
1:11:46 Who to trust? Hilbrand, Jonas
1:16:16 What issues to consider in DNA testing? – Benoît
1:19:18 What outcomes can result with DNA testing? – Benoît
1:20:40 What DNA tests do you recommend? Benoït, Marcia
1:23:51 What are the advantages of using an adoptee led search org? – Celin, Marcia
1:28:28 What was involved in becoming a trusted Government funded search org? – Celin
1:30:36 What is needed most from Governments to help adoptees in our searching? – Hilbrand, Marcia

Summary of Key Messages

딸깍 하는 소리 여기 for a pdf of our Key Messages from each panelist

자원

Huge thanks to the 26 adoptees who wanted to share their experiences of searching so that others can gain a deeper understanding. They represent experiences of 13 birth countries (China, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam), sent to 9 adoptive countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Scotland, Sweden, UK, USA).

ICAVs newest Perspective Paper on Searching in Intercountry Adoption

For more resources, see our Searching & Reunion page

첫 엄마에 대한 나의 감정

~에 의해 마리아 디마르, born in Chile and adopted to Sweden; Founder of chileadoption.se

Have you ever tried to go back (in your thoughts) and listen to yourself, to what you really felt growing up as an adoptee?

When I try to go back in time like that, I realise I have so many feelings and thoughts I never dared to express. I still carry those feelings inside of me.

As a transracial, intercountry adoptee growing up in Sweden during 1970-1980, I feel that I was part of an experiment. Children from countries all over the world were placed in Swedish families and we were supposed to be like a “clean slate”, as if our life stories started at the airport in Sweden.

My background was never a secret and I was allowed to read my documents from Chile. But I never felt that I could talk about my feelings and thoughts about my first mom. I held so much inside and was never asked to express anything regarding my feelings or thoughts. I couldn’t understand why I was in Sweden, why I wasn’t with my mom and my people in Chile. I felt so unwanted and not loved.

I wrote a letter to my mom as if I was 7 years old. I don’t know why I did it, but I wrote the letter in Spanish.

I was recommended to write the letter using my left hand, although I’m right-handed.

불법 및 불법 해외 입양에 대해 이야기합시다.

There’s a resounding silence around the world from the majority of adoptive parents when adult intercountry adoptees start to talk about whether our adoptions are illegal or illicit. Why is that? Let’s begin the conversation and unpack it a little.

As an intercountry adoptee, I was purchased through illicit and illegal means and it has taken me years to come to terms with what this means and how I view my adoption. I’m not alone in this journey and because of what I hear and see amongst my community of adoptees, I believe it’s really important for adoptive parents to grapple with what they’ve participated in. This system of child trafficking in intercountry adoption is widespread! It’s not just a Guatemalan, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan or Russian issue – it impacts every country we are adopted to and from, beginning back in the 1950s enmasse, through to current day adoptions. The 1993년 헤이그 협약 came about because of the vast number of illegal and illicit adoptions. The Hague could possibly blind adoptive parents into believing their adoptions cannot be illegal or illicit because they went through the “approved” process and authority. But while a Hague adoption is less likely than a pre-Hague private or expatriate adoption to have illegal and illicit practices within, it is no guarantee because the Hague lacks mechanisms to enforce and safeguard against child trafficking.

To date, most adoptive countries have also not curbed or stopped private and expatriate adoptions that bypass the Hague processes. This means illegal and illicit adoptions are very much still possible and facilitated through a country’s immigration pathways and usually the only role an adoptive country will play in these adoptions, is to assess visa eligibility. This remains a huge failing of adoptive countries who assume a birth country has all the checks and balances in place to prevent illegal and illicit practices within private and expatriate adoptions.

If you aren’t grappling with what you’ve participated in as an adoptive parent, you can be sure your adoptees are, at some point in their lives. More so these days, as the world around us changes and country after country (네덜란드, 벨기에, 노르웨이, 스위스, 스웨덴, 프랑스) eventually investigates and recognises the wrongs done historically in intercountry adoption. 독일, 덴마크 그리고 호주 are countries where adoptees are currently pushing for their governments to investigate. Support comes from the UN who last year, issued their joint statement on illegal intercountry adoptions.

It’s important we have these discussions and be truthful with adoptees about illegal and illicit practices that are our adoptions. In ICAV, we grapple with the reality, especially when it comes to searching for our origins and finding out the truth. Here’s a webinar I co-facilitated two years ago on this topic. As you’ll see from the webinar, we are all impacted by these practices – adoptees, adoptive parents, and our original families.

When I first started ICAV in 1998, I didn’t want to discuss the darker sides of adoption. I blindly mimicked what I’d heard – being grateful for my life in Australia and thankful that my life was so much better than if I’d remained in Vietnam. It’s taken me years to educate myself, listening to fellow adoptees around the world who are impacted and advocating for our rights and for the dark side of adoption to be dealt with. I’ve finally come to understand deeply what the adoption industry is and how it operates.

My adoptive parents couldn’t deal with my questions or comments about being paid for in France, or the questions I had about the Vietnamese lawyer who facilitated my adoption. They jumped to his defence. But there is no evidence I am an orphan and my 40+ years of searching for the truth highlights how illegal my adoption is, to date: no relinquishment document, no birth certificate, no adoption papers from the Vietnam side, only a few personal letters written from lawyer to adoptive family and an exchange of money to a French bank account, then the Victorian adoption authority processed my adoption 16 years after I entered Australia with parents who were questionably “assessed and approved”.

I’m a parent of teenaged children and I know what it’s like to have those tough discussions on topics we aren’t comfortable with. I’m sure many adoptive parents must feel doubts and possibly a sense of guilt looking back in hindsight, for not looking into things more, pushing away doubts about the process, the costs, the facilitators, in their zeal to become a parent at all costs. If you feel guilt or remorse as an adoptive parent, at least you’re being honest about the reality of intercountry adoption. Honesty is a good place to start. What’s worse for adoptees is when our parents deny and defend their actions despite data that indicates there were plenty of signals of illicit practices from that country or facilitator. Being honest will help your adoptee start to trust you can take responsibility for your actions and not pass the buck to the “other” stakeholders who also contribute to trafficking practices. 

The difficult part for us all, is that there are rarely any supports or education on this topic from those facilitating adoption or supporting it – either as pre or post adoption organisations. Even less support exists for those who KNOW it was illegal or illicit adoption and no-one guides us as to what we can do about it except our own peer communities. This needs to change! It should not be the responsibility of the impacted community to provide the industry and authorities with education and resources on what it means to be a victim of the process and how to support us.

At ICAV, we have been attempting to fill this gap because the industry continues to fail us in this way. Here is our global paper we compiled of our responses we’d like from governments and authorities. I hope those who feel guilt or remorse will turn that feeling into an action to demand better supports and legislation for impacted people and speaking up to hold governments and agencies accountable. That is how you’ll help us in my humble opinion. The fact that so many parents who participated in trafficking practices are silent is only damning your adoptee to have to fight the system by themselves. 

Thankfully, the work I was involved in, to represent adoptees in the Hague Working Group on Preventing and Addressing Illicit Practices in Intercountry Adoption, has concluded with a published toolkit in which Central Authorities are now provided a template for how they ~ 할 수 있었다 respond to queries from victims of illegal and illicit adoptions. Sadly, this toolkit, like the 1993 Hague Convention is not enforceable and so, it requires those of us who are impacted to spend much time and energy pushing governments and authorities to respond to us in an appropriate manner.

If you are an Australian and you’d like to support us in our push for an investigation by an independent body into Australia’s history of intercountry adoptions, you can participate in our survey as an 입양인 or as an adoptive parent. We aim to gather high level data showing the human rights abuse patterns throughout the birth countries and the ongoing lack of adequate responses from the Australian government and authorities. Prior to this, we created a letter with signatures from the community which was sent to every Australian Central Authority, every Minister responsible for Adoption at both State and Federal level, and to our Prime Minister and State Premiers.

For the benefit of many, I felt it important to provide an easy to read document on what an illicit and illegal intercountry adoption is. My heartfelt thanks to Prof David Smolin who did the lion share of creating this easy to read document. I’m honoured to know some incredible adoptive parents like David who spend their lives advocating and working with us to change this global system.

다인종 입양인과 부모를 위한 반인종주의 온라인 워크숍

Last year, I ran a webinar on the experiences intercountry and transracial adoptees have with racism to help raise awareness and give voice to these common experiences as a community. To further address the lack of resources to our community in this area, I have utilised the funding via the 관계 호주 Small Grants & Bursaries program to hire Hue, a lived experience company who specialises in anti-racism workshops. Together, Hue and ICAV are offering a much needed space (separately for transracial adoptees; and another for adoptive parents), to discuss, raise awareness, and process some of these issues involved in race, racism, and intercountry / transracial adoption.

Our workshops are free and will be provided as a three part series, as an anti-racism program tailored specifically to Australian intercountry and transracial adoptees, and their parents. Adoptees and parents from other countries are welcome to join, understanding that the program is being delivered from an Australian perspective (but still relevant to other countries) and in an Australian timezone. Each workshop is capped at 35 to ensure maximum benefit for participants.

Both programs in their first workshop will cover an introduction to race and racism, developing our understanding and critical thinking around systemic racism and injustice. The second workshop will explore whiteness or white dominant culture, and the ways that our attitudes, and ways of life are impacted by these cultural systems, particularly in an intercountry adoption context. Adoptees will finish with a program that explores ways of unlearning and challenging the harmful beliefs that we internalise in a white dominant culture, tools for collective liberation and solidarity, and tools for self and community care. Adoptive parents will complete their series with a workshop on allyship, developing skills for challenging racism when they see it, and supporting their adoptive children through their experiences.

Here is some information about Hue and its facilitator, Elsa, whom I have worked with to tailor these workshops to suit our community experience:

Hue is a racial and social justice organisation founded by two women of colour that delivers a range of training programs that are accessible, engaging and strengths based. Their workshops are facilitated by people with lived experience to provide participatory and nuanced learning experiences for all knowledge levels. They also provide ongoing support and consultation to organisations looking to implement meaningful change into their policies, processes and work culture.

Elsa (she/her) is a queer, Jewish and Chinese woman of colour. She is an educator, facilitator, organiser and performer. She is the co-founder of Hue, an antiracism & social justice organisation that provides training and consulting to organisations. Previously she was the Director of Training at Democracy in Colour and served two terms on the board and QTIBIPOC board committee of Switchboard Victoria. She has a background in Social Work and Psychology, and wrote her honours thesis on how multiracial people from multiple minority heritages engage with their ethnic identities. In 2020 she was awarded one of Out for Australia’s 30 under 30, for LGBTQIA+ role models and leaders and in 2022 she was a semifinalist for the 7NEWS Young Achievers Awards for Community Service and Social Impact. She is passionate about platforming lived experience, building community power, and healing in the process.

The key dates of the workshops for adoptees are: 21 May, 4 June, 18 June starting at 1pm AEST. Each workshop runs for 3.5 hours with breaks in between. Input and participation is encouraged via small group breakouts. This is not a sit and listen workshop but if that’s what you feel comfortable doing, then that’s ok too.

If you would like to RSVP as an intercountry / transracial adoptee to participate in our workshop for adoptees only, please click on the yellow RSVP image:


The key dates of the workshops for adoptive parents are: 23 July, 6 August, 20 August starting at 1pm AEST. Each workshop runs for 3.5 hours with breaks in between. Input and participation is encouraged via small group breakouts. This is not a sit and listen workshop but if that’s what you feel comfortable doing, then that’s ok too.

If you would like to RSVP as an adoptive parent to participate in our workshop for adoptive parents only, please click on the blue RSVP image:

Huge thanks to the Australian Federal Government, DSS for making this possible via the funding through Relationships Australia ICAFSS, Small Grants and Bursaries program.

Dear Korea, About Mia*

*Name has been changed to protect identity

~에 의해 kim thompson / 김종예 born in South Korea, adopted to the USA, Co-Founder of 유니버설 아시안

This article was written for Finding the Truth of 372 Overseas Adoptees from Korea published in Korean

Artwork: Gone But Not Forgotten by Amelia Reimer

Dear Korea,

I want to tell you all about my friend Mia, but I am limited in how I can tell you her story as she is no longer here and cannot give consent to my re-telling of what is hers and hers alone.

And so, Korea, I will tell you about my experience and observations of her and of our friendship.

Mia was a fellow adoptee and my friend. We met in your city of Seoul around 2013 or 2014. I was in my fifth year of living there. Mia was, as is the case for many adoptees in Seoul, trying to learn your language and doing various freelance jobs related to writing and teaching English, as well as working as a journalist for publications in the country she had been adopted to and raised in. She was an immensely talented writer and photographer.

Mia was quirky. For example, she loved marshmallows more than any child or adult I have ever met. She loved them to the point of ecstasy–we used to laugh at how deliriously happy it made her to roast a marshmallow on a rotating spit over hot coals where we’d previously been cooking our 양꼬치 (lamb skewers). Mia was her own unique self. When it came to your food and cafes, Mia loved everything about you, but the fact that you could get marshmallows from 다이소 made her love you even more, even if they weren’t (according to her) quite the same as she could get in the country where she’d been raised. She laughingly said it made her life with you that much easier.

Mia was funny, kind, thoughtful, and incredibly generous both with her time and money. She once hunted down and gifted my then-partner and myself with two specialty sakés from Yoshida Brewery because we had told her how much we loved the documentary The Birth of Saké. She cared deeply for others, freely and easily expressed gratitude, and was just an all-around fun person to hang out with. She had a laugh that I can still easily recall.

Mia loved the band 넬(Nell) and used to, needlessly, thank me constantly for “introducing” them to her. “They’re sooooooo good~~~” she’d earnestly exclaim when talking about an album of theirs she’d been listening to on repeat. She was an intelligent, articulate, and creative mind who had a delightful hunger for life, art, travel, new experiences, and good food… and marshmallows.

Mia also had a very deep awareness and understanding of her mental health struggles and was as proactive as one could be about working to be healthy. She sought out the professional help she needed. She used her very real diagnosed depression as a positive in that she allowed it to make her an even more empathetic being, which was so evidenced in her professional career as a journalist and how she conducted her personal relationships. Mia had lived through traumas and tragedies that are all too common for adoptees and had profound sorrows and losses.

Korea, I am writing to tell you that Mia was such a good friend to many, including myself. She was genuinely interested in and curious about the lives of those around her. When one was with Mia, one felt seen, heard, loved, and cared for.

Four years have passed since she took her life, and I still and shall always love and miss her.

Something else I can tell you, Korea, with as much certainty as possible, is that if the adoption agency through whom she was exported from knew of her suicide they would quickly blame her adopters, her circumstances, her environment, her traumas, her mental health, and Mia herself. They would never think to own their responsibility in being the root cause for all of the “reasons” for why she felt she could no longer stay in her life or this world.

Korea, chances are, the agency would tell you that while it’s an unfortunate reality that “every so often” “bad” adopters manage to get through their system–that it’s a “rarity.” They would dig their heels in, feigning willful ignorance and dismissal over the well-researched and known statistic that adoptees are four times more likely to attempt or commit suicide than non-adoptees. They would tell you that they are not to be held accountable for Mia’s mental health, and that she should have gotten the help she needed. They would say that what happened to her is too bad, and I do not doubt that they would mean it, but they would in the same breath tell you that none of this is their fault.

And yet, Korea, it was the agency that placed Mia in the family she was raised in via a system that has been empowered and enabled on both societal and governmental levels to prioritize and value financial gain over keeping children with their ummas and appas. Mia’s physical and emotional safety and support she needed were not prioritized, nor were they valued.

The responsibility for her mental and physical wellness was placed directly onto her shoulders. The responsibility for her surviving her childhood; learning how to thrive; and later, as an adult, trying to adapt to life in Korea; to explore and embrace her cultural and racial identity; to try and learn the language; and to search or not to search for her first family were also all placed directly onto her shoulders. Mia’s birthright to family, culture, and identity had been sold right from under her without her consent when she was a baby, and she was then left to pay the price for someone else’s immense financial profit.

Dear Korea, I want… I need you to know that Mia, like so many adoptees including me, had to constantly navigate statements from the agency, adopters, and non-adoptees like: “You sound so bitter and angry. You should be more grateful.” “Your life is so much better than if you’d grown up an orphan in South Korea.” “You don’t know how poor South Korea was.” “You’re so lucky to have been raised in the West. Your life is so much better.”

I need you to know… to feel… to somehow understand that no matter how emotionally or mentally strong or proactive we as adoptees are in advocating for ourselves, no matter how “perfect” some of our adoptive parents might be, these kinds of statements, which embody attitudes and perceptions of denial, dismissal, and diminishing, take a toll on our mental health. They are forms of what is now known as “gas lighting.” They can cause us to question our sanity, goodness, love, gratitude, self, and sense of worth. They make us feel like we really might be ungrateful, unloving human beings who should be good with not knowing our parents, our ancestral roots, language, or culture because: “We got to grow up in the ‘rich’ West.” These are things that no adoptee I have ever known, myself included, is truly equipped to handle, and yet the responsibility to do so, is always on us.

I think about how all of this must have worn Mia down. I think about how even though she knew on an intellectual level that her traumas were never her fault, she bore the emotional toll.

Dear Korea, when Mia took her life, your citizens did not wail aloud in the streets wearing black and white. The adoption agencies operating on your soil that to this day export children to the West for financial profit did not fall to their knees asking the gods and Mia’s soul for forgiveness. 

The ones who were wailing, the ones left falling to their knees under the gut-wrenching sorrow and ache of Mia’s suicide were and remain the same ones who also live as survivors of adoption–us adoptees. You see, when any one of our 200,000 is lost to suicide or addiction or abuse, the loss is deep and the loss is a collective and a permanent one. Four years later, and I still feel the absence of her presence not just in my life, but also in this world.

I am writing you Korea, because it is imperative that you always remember that Mia’s decision to end her life was not her fault. Yes, she made that choice at the very end, but in so many ways that choice had been made for her the day her agency got their hands on her and sold and sent her away from your shores to her adopters.

Yes, it’s true that chances are, Mia would have always struggled with aspects of her mental health even if she’d been able to grow up in the family and place that was rightfully hers. But, I am also confident in saying that her taking her life in her late 30s most likely would not have happened because she would not have had any of the traumas inflicted by coerced abandonment and adoption to carry in her heart that was too big and beautiful for this world.

When Mia died, not only did I lose a dear friend, we the collective of adoptees lost yet another of ours, and whether one can or wants to see this or not–you, my beloved South Korea, you lost a great woman, a great creative mind, a great friend, a great daughter, a great sister, a great aunt, a great partner, a great heart, and a great Korean who had all the potential to significantly contribute to the richness of your literature, arts, and culture.  

But more than anything dearest Korea, when Mia lost her life to the wounds and traumas of adoption inflicted on her by her agency, you lost one of your children.

자원

국제 입양 및 자살: 범위 지정 검토

해외입양인 인권 검증 및 보장을 위한 국제회의 (영한 번역, 한인 해외 입양인에 대한 최대 규모의 연구 개요)

국제 입양인 기념관

입양인과 자살에 관한 연구

입양인과 자살 위험

RU OK 데이? – 입양인과 자살 시도에 대해 이야기 할 때입니다.

입양인의 슬픔과 참선

인디애나폴리스에서 나는 최근 승산 선사가 시작한 관음 선종의 대승불교 승가와 함께 참선 수행을 시작했습니다. 저는 인디애나폴리스 젠 센터에서 수행자 커뮤니티와 함께 앉아 공부를 시작했습니다. 연습은 좌선 및 걷기 명상, 선법 읽기 듣기, 대기실에서 가벼운 마음으로 법 토론에 참여하는 것으로 구성됩니다.

명상 수련에서 게임 체인저가 된 것은 눈을 뜨고 명상하는 것입니다. 나는 그 기능과 유용성에 충격을 받아 시도하기로 결정했습니다. 나는 일반적으로 내면의 평화를 찾는 다양한 수면, 미묘한 명상 단계를 거치지 않고 완전히 깨어 있습니다. 나는 눈을 감고 얻은 마음챙김으로 깨어 있고, 내 명상을 발전시키는 것은 눈을 감고 어둠 속에서 이 모든 일을 하고 나중에 그것을 세계.

최근 이 새로운 도시로 이주한 이후로 떠오른 것은 눈을 감았을 때 몰입하는 살아있는 슬픔입니다. 나는 그것을 내 중재에서 사납고 모든 것을 소모하는 바다로 느낍니다. 그리고 그것으로 인해 내 마음에 무거움이 있습니다. 그리고 나는 창문 위의 안개나 흙처럼 그 무거움을 통해 바라본다. 그러나 그것은 분명합니다. 저는 몇 초 만에 일시적인 명확성을 달성했습니다. 그리고 나는 지금 이 순간의 정확한 생생함을 느끼고 전혀 정신이 없습니다. 나는 내가 앉아 있는 방에서 깨어 있을 뿐이다.

어제 있었던 선 수행 중에 선생님과 면담을 할 수 있었습니다. 나는 중재에서 내 슬픔과 그것이 맑아졌을 때 내 경험을 가져왔다.

"어디로 가죠?" 선생님이 물었다.

"사라진다." 내가 말했다.

“그럼 선택의 여지가 있습니다.”그가 웃으며 말했다.

나는 슬픔과 무거움, 그것이 나를 끌어당기고 나를 졸리게 만드는 방식, 그리고 슬픔과 이 무거움이 어떻게 내 명확성을 흐리게 할 수 있는지 설명하고 거의 원처럼 회전하는 이러한 어려운 감각으로 명상에 대한 선의 조언을 구했습니다. 나는 그것에 강한 애착이 있고, 수년 동안 내 명상에서 그것에 집중하고, 나도 모르게 그것에 마음을 집중하고, 그것을 먹임으로써 그것을 더 크게 만들었을 수도 있다고 설명했지만, 이제 그것이 어떻게 나에게 남아 있는지 확인하십시오. 눈을 뜨고 무의식적으로 내 깨어있는 삶에 어떤 영향을 미칠 수 있는지 상상할 수 있습니다. 그래서 이 모든 게 선생님이 고맙게도 조금 아시는 입양인으로서 평생의 업보를 짊어지는 것 같아서 고민이었어요.

"그것으로부터 배우십시오. 그리고 내가 그것을 경험했을 때 나는 그것에 감사할 것입니다. 교훈을 주셔서 감사합니다.” 그는 슬픔에 잠긴 자신의 인생 경험을 설명하면서 다음과 같은 책을 언급했습니다. 악마와 친구가 되는 방법, 그리고 그것이 그를 위해 떠났다고 말했습니다.

나는 이 대화에서 갑자기 희망이 터지는 것을 느꼈다.

“그래서 그 존재를 감상하고 연습을 계속할 수 있습니다.”라고 나는 그에게 확인합니다.

“당신은 그것을 느껴야 합니다.” 선 인터뷰가 끝날 무렵 선생님이 나에게 말했다. "당신은 그것을 소유해야합니다." 나는 슬픔 속에서도 참선을 수행할 수 있는 방법이 있음을 이해하고 그를 바라보았다. 그리고 그것을 소유하고 그것이 내 삶을 통제하지 못하게 하는 방법이 있다는 것입니다.

인디애나폴리스에 있는 새 아파트에서 나는 오늘 내 삶의 슬픔과 그것이 만들어내는 무거움을 눈을 뜨고 보고 있으며 그것이 내게 가르쳐준 것에 대해 일기를 쓰고 있습니다. 힘들지만 관찰한 것에서 나 자신에게 비판적인 질문을 던지고 있다. 내 슬픔에 전적으로 초점을 맞추는 대신, 나는 내 삶과 깨어 있는 세상, 그리고 그것이 내게 가르쳐 주는 모든 것에서 슬픔에 감사하고 감사할 수 있는 공간을 제공하고 있습니다. 슬픔에 대한 나의 경험으로 볼 때, 특히 작년에 필리핀계 미국인 형제의 죽음으로 나에게 그것은 상처받고 도취적인 동반자입니다. 그러나 나는 슬픔을 감사하고 내 안의 사랑에 다시 연결함으로써 슬픔을 버리는 것이 아니라는 것도 깨달았습니다.

Desiree의 이전 블로그 읽기: 새로운 도시로 이동

자원

외상 채택 자원에서

당신의 슬픔은 당신의 선물입니다

한국어
%%바닥글%%