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Voices of Adoption: Korean Adoptee Perspectives

Every adoptee has a unique and compelling story to tell. In Fall, 2000, NAATA placed an "open call" to Korean adoptees from around the country for personal stories and creative writing for this website. Our goal: to expand the body of creative and personal expression made by adoptees and to illustrate the diversity of their experiences. We extend our thanks to everyone who submitted material and while we could not present all submissions, we are honored to present here a selection of writings by eight adoptees.

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

Scattered
Across the sea
Letters
My mother wrote for me


Complex characters
Delicately designed by this foreign hand
Always to be carried with me
Into this foreign land


Studying
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.





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