When I tell people I’m adopted, I hear the typical response. “Wow! How fascinating! I was wondering why your last name doesn’t match your face.” Being a Korean adoptee in a Portuguese family has brought out some interesting conversations. Clerks have been skeptical and suspiciously double-checked my ID. Waiters assume my parents and I are on separate checks. I could write a book on comments people have said. Not all of them have been bad. Some are hilarious. But all in all, isn’t that how life is described as: Interesting? My parents always wanted to have a girl. But, after my fourth brother was born, they decided to adopt. On September 2, 1989, my family arrived at LAX to pick me up from the airport. The social worker smiled, handed me to my mother, and told her that I never cried on that 12-hour flight from South Korea. Thus began my incredible life with my new family.
I know very little information about my biological family because of it being a closed adoption. People often ask if I know or want to know “my real parents”. It’s always seemed like such a silly thought. To me, my parents are my parents and my brothers are my brothers. I think when you grow up in a loving home, there isn’t any reason to think otherwise.
I have never had a desire to meet my biological parents but that doesn’t mean I don’t have respect for what they did. I think a lot of adoptees have curiosity of where they come from but it has never created identity issues for me. I grew up with other Korean adoptees and am still friends with them today. I realize now what a blessing that was to know that I was not alone. Every September 2, my family celebrates my “Airplane Day” and treats it like my birthday. Adoption has always been a positive experience in my family, as well as in my friend’s families.
I remember once being teased in school about my face and came home crying. I asked my mom why I couldn’t have her eyes and nose. She smiled and told me, “But I wish I could have yours.” Instead of explaining and comparing, she validated me by telling me how special I looked. Growing up in a race that is different from my own had its challenges of course. But, my family has always emphasized the importance of adoption and taught me to be patient with people who don’t understand.
Adoption has always been special to me and I hope to adopt one day. My adoption story is what led me to my current major of Social Work. Social work has enabled me to grow in knowledge of advocacy, human rights, vulnerability, and social justice. Most of all, I’ve grown in the knowledge that God knows what He’s doing.
I think my adoption has impacted my view of God specifically regarding decisions and prayers. I often will look at my life and become overwhelmed at the thought of it all. I think of what would have happened if my biological mother decided to keep me at the last second. What if I would have gone into a different home with a different family? And the saddest thought of all, is what if my biological mother wanted to abort me? This life I have now would never exist. I would never know my beautiful family and they would never know me. It’s thoughts like this that make me thank the Lord for His beautiful plans; things too awesome for us to understand. He turns the most hopeless of situations into beautiful things.
To parents who are considering adoption: God knew what He was doing 26 years ago when He placed me with my family and He still knows today. Whether you decide to adopt or not adopt, He knows. I have confidence in that thought and you should too.