Voices of Adoption: Korean Adoptee Perspectives

Michael Lorilla

Like most other adoptees, I was the only Asian in a sea of white people. Yet I think that I was one of the lucky ones. I was adopted by an Asian family so my adoption was not made public issue to the outside world. I also had a number of Asian role models so I grew up knowing and appreciating Asian culture.

I still had my issues to deal with at home. Devisive reactions by my father's family led to disbelief of me and my experiences by my immediate family. Not until my father's funeral did they make public what they had privately fully disclosed to me. No apologies given or requested, I was simply satisified to know, and to have my family know, that I was right, I was telling the truth when I told of their torment.

I moved on. I realized that they were motivated by jealousy. It didn't help that dad bragged about his son being a national merit scholar, the awards, the government appointments, the graduate degrees, the salary. My sisters did very well in their lives but they were untouchable. They were his daughters by blood.

I now have a son and I feel so much love and sadness when I hold him.

Ghosts and Broken Mirrors

Every day I walk past a broken mirror

I can't hide it

I've tried to swallow it

It follows me


Everyone knows it belongs to me

I own it, it is mine

It is all I have left

Yet it there for all the world to see


I see in it's reflections Pictures of a me

I never knew existed

Of a life I never had

That continues to haunt me


Jagged broken bits

Cut off without reason

Like short stories

Without a beginning

Lacking a sense of time and place

People demand

But I don't know what to say


I can only think

Of fragments of quickly fading memories

Of ghosts of butterflies

Of webs of spiders silk

Of ties that bind, yet break, yet remain

Of echoes across two worlds

Drowned by the white noise


Fade to White



Across the sea


My mother wrote for me


Complex characters

Delicately designed by this foreign hand

Always to be carried with me

Into this foreign land



Each characteristic, each clue

For insight

From the reminders

From the remains

Of a past I once knew


Bleached, torn and swallowed

Too faint to be read

Too distant to be understood

Too far to be heard

Her words, my memories

Melted by the tears

Obscured by the sea

Fade to white

Copyright © 2000 Deann Borshay Liem & NAATA. This content was originally created in 2000. Visit the original site.