Archive for July, 2009

Financial Difficulty…

Sometimes I am really not the brightest bulb on the Christmas Tree.


I mailed my request for non identifying information and a money order for seventy five dollars to my adoption agency almost two weeks ago. Unfortunately, because I filled out the money order incorrectly, the bank was unable to deposit it and the adoption agency mailed it back to me, where it now sits in my purse, waiting for action.


I should have tried to change out the money order and send it back to the agency the same day I got it back. But instead of that, I’ve pretty much pussed out and convinced myself that now is NOT the right time to be spending seventy five dollars. I still owe Verizon wireless 423 dollars. That is not coming off of my credit report if I don’t PAY them. And I can’t pay THEM and spend seventy five dollars to probably find out that I have no one and nothing.


I don’t know what I should do. I definitely plan on shelling out twenty five dollars for GOAL membership in order to ask them to get my Holt Korea paperwork for me. But that seventy five dollars is both emotionally and financially hard to part with. The first time I sent it out, I had to empty my checking account and watch the zero in my account for a week until payday.


I really am struggling with myself over this. I need to pay that bill off, but I am desperate to know where I came from. Maybe the money order came back to me because I’m not supposed to find out yet. Maybe I’m not supposed to spend that money on that?


I’m a big believer in signs and the fact that the money came BACK is scary as hell to me. Is it a subliminal message telling me that I should not go any further? Or is it my cowardice telling me that I should save the money and not go for the paperwork right now? Or am I just really scared and trying to use logic of needing that money for bills (albeit good logic) to sway myself from being hurt?


July 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm 4 comments

Some Cultural Insight

This morning, I took part in a company held diversity training workshop as part of my on-the-job training. It was meant to be a few exercises in tolerance, diversity, and understanding one another better, but I came away from it with a couple of new thoughts about my cultural identity that I felt I should share here.

The first exercise of the morning was designed to break the ice and get us thinking. The instructor laid a piece of tape along the floor, dividing the room in half. We were supposed to stand on one side of the line if we agreed with a statement he read, and supposed to stand on another side if we disagreed. The statements were vague items written to be open for interpretation. Culturally speaking, the other participants were very diverse and their input was enlightening. I see myself as having a unique view about culture (well maybe more confused than unique) due to the fact that I was adopted and have missed out on my culture for most of my life.  

The question that triggered my thought process didn’t actually have a lot to do with culture. The trainer asked “Does the way you were raised affect how you deal with things in the work place?”

My answer was undeniably a huge yes.

My life has been shaped by my losses and my triumphs. For a large part of my life, I was a sad, confused, lonely girl. I have used my experiences to learn and grow into a young woman who is finally starting to figure things out on her own. I believe the trials I have weathered have led me to be a strong individual. I also know the lack of Korean culture and the loss of my natural family has forever marked me in an irreversible way just as my adoptive family have forever changed me.

Recently I’ve struggled a lot with my racial identity. Who am I? How do I be Korean when I don’t even remember Korea? How do I balance and shift between White Katie and Korean Katie? Is it possible to navigate between two cultures that are not really mine?

I can’t be Korean Katie as she would have been had I not been adopted. I can’t be White because that is not my race. It does not belong to me, it’s borrowed from someone else. So who am I supposed to be? A combination of the two things I can never be, no matter how hard I try?

No. It really shouldn’t be that hard. I should not be damned to a life of confusion.

In my mind I have reconciled my Korean heritage by the belief that I am my mother’s daughter. Come what may, I am always hers. As long as her blood runs through my veins, I am her daughter. I am Korean. That is something that cannot be taken away. My mom, my family, my birthdate, and my culture were taken, but my Korean-ness cannot be taken. Even though it is not something conscious, it is always there, waiting for me

I also am undeniably American. I love America. I really do. The core values of hard work, determination, freedom of speech, and perserverance are all things I strongly believe in. I have cried on the fourth of July, moved, as the flag was raised and fireworks celebrated the tenacity of the people who fought so that I, among millions of others could be free. I love the mish mash of cultures and ideals and the beauty of such a great country where anything is possible. America is something I may not have experienced had I not been adopted and it is a silver lining in a sad situation.

The only way for me to be true to myself, is to be mindful of both who I was when I was born, who my ancestors are, and where I began, and also of the good and bad experiences I have come through as a pretend white girl. Both of those things are pieces of me. They are beautiful shards of broken glass that put together a reflection of who I am.

The answer is not as simple as I would have liked, not at all cut and dry. I still have a long way to go with realizing fully who I am and where I belong. But I am one step further, one little bit more at peace with myself.

July 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

A Tidbit of Information

When I sent away for my file last week, I posted a status update about it on facebook, hoping to share the news with my other adopted friends. I had forgotten that I had recently become facebook friends with my stepmother and that she would also see my status update. When she came back from vacation, she must have checked it and told my Dad that I was looking for my file because he called me, telling me not to shell out the money for it. I was shocked to hear he had a file, any file related to my adoption. My adoptive mom is a little controlling  and I cannot imagine her allowing such important paperwork to be split between two different homes, two different people.

My spidey sense went off again when he told me “You can have it as long as you don’t tell your mom I have it”. When I tried to ask why he had papers separate from what my mom had, he quickly backpedaled and tried to tell me that what he has was different. Since that conversation four days ago, he has told me several different, conflicting things about why he has it. I don’t really care to delve deeper into his lies, I just need my information. I went over to his house

Saturday afternoon to get it from him. I was hoping it would have some non identifying information, or some sort of link that would jump start my search. I was not sure what to expect, but was anxious to see it. When I got there, he tried to tell me that I could not take it home with me. That he would give it to me to keep when I was older. I am now 22 years old. Exactly how much older should I be before I am allowed to have my truth?  Eventually I was able to persuade him to allow me copies of the information.

Fast forward to today, four days later. I have the paperwork. It sits in a stack on my desk, waiting for me to pick through it with a fine tooth comb. Most of the information in it is related to post adoption information. There’s a sheet from my well baby checkup after my parents adopted me, a medical sheet with information that flew with me on the plane, and a couple of pages with information on Korean books and culture to share with your new Korean adoptee.

 There is one thing that sticks out. It is a worn out looking piece of paper, handwritten with sort of a time line on what happened with me after I was left by my biological parents. It says I was left by “unmarried parent” at Dae Jeon “Foster Home”. I don’t really know if this is a foster home, an orphanage, or with a foster family. I am not really sure what they meant by that.

It appears from the time line that I lived at the Dae Jeon foster home from August 24th until September 11th, when I was transferred to another in Seoul. I am trying to take everything at face value, and to read between the lines, but my mind is spinning with the knowledge that I was kept for a month and some change before I was relinquished.

Wherever my family is, I know they TRIED. They wanted to keep me, and they tried to keep me. I got to be with her for a month. An entire month. Having information to look at is mind blowing. It makes everything so real. Where I was once able to turn my back with no hope, I am now obsessing over the smallest details on a 22 year old piece of paper as if I could see their faces in it the more I stare at it.

The information isn’t much, but it is enough to give me hope that I may in fact be reunited with my family and reclaim my truth.

July 15, 2009 at 10:36 am 2 comments

July 14th

Dear Mom,

Twenty-two years ago, you brought me into the world. I can never thank you enough for giving me life.

Though we have been separated for almost twenty two whole years, I want you to know that I have never stopped loving you.

You are the reason I exist.  My mother, my love, my life.

I hope you are thinking about me today, but please don’t be sad. Even though there is a world between us, we can never truly be separated because our bond goes beyond words, beyond thought, beyond borders and state lines. Our bond is in our blood and as long as our hearts are beating, we are together.

I promise I will find my way back to you.

I love you and miss you today and always.

With love,

Your lost daughter

July 14, 2009 at 8:41 am 2 comments

Today’s Thoughts

My loss and anger are rearing their ugly heads because it is now less than until my so called birthday.

I’m trying to keep my head above water. Trying not to drown in my sorrow.

 When I was a little girl, I would cry while people sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I would shut my eyes and blow out my candles and cry a little bit more. On my eighteenth birthday, I bawled when my adoptive parents gave me a card telling me how much they loved me and how proud they were. I did not know then that the source of my tears was utter sadness. I did not recognize my mother’s absence because I was taught not to miss her. This year I miss her very much. I have noticed myself becoming more and more agitated the closer Tuesday gets.

As feelings of longing intensify inside my core, I snap at the person closest to me (John) and am downright unpleasant to be around. I worry that I have begun to drive him away. That my thoughts, my fears, and my pain are causing me to push him to leave me before he decides to do so on his own.

This is something I struggle with more this time of year. I am most unloveable on the anniversary of the day she left me. What will I do instead of tearing my relationships apart? I understand why I am doing what I am doing, that’s step one.

But now how do I prevent myself from sabatoging what is so important to me? How do I break the cycle and really move on?

July 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm 1 comment

Step One

Today was a big day for me.

I made a huge leap, and sent away for my file.

I filled out the paperwork, had it notarized, got a money order, and mailed it all registered mail. Overkill? Maybe. But I can’t sit around for weeks waiting on this paperwork wondering if they ever even got my request.

I’m one step closer to finding my mom, my family. And I am scared shitless. As much as I want to know where I came from, once I know, there is really no going back.  Part of me regrets putting the paperwork in the mail. I’m not ready. I don’t think I am.  But can you ever really be ready?

Can any of this set my mind at ease? Or will the knowledge only serve to torture me?

July 6, 2009 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

Call Back

Welcome House called me back on Thursday as I was driving I95 headed for New York City. I hesitated before I answered the unfamiliar number, but immediately picked up when I realized the 215 area code was a Pennsylvania number.

 The agent that spoke with me was friendly. She explained that Welcome House partners with Holt Korea and that they would have additional information, but would refer me back to Welcome House if I attempted to get it.

I asked her what type of information I might find in the file and if it would contain anything my parents did not already have. She said “If you were born in 1987, the chances are you were not abandoned and there is probably identifying information that will lead you to your family.”

That statement is contrary to anything I have ever believed or ever been told about my adoption. I was told by my adoptive mother that the agency claimed I was left at the orphanage in Korea by an unnamed female. “She could have been an aunt, or another relative, or a stranger who found you somewhere” my adoptive mom told me.

So what is the truth? Was I abandoned like I have always believed? Or is my mother’s information held somewhere in a file, waiting for me to find? And why have I believed otherwise for all of this time? Did my adoptive mom lie to me? Or was she lied to?

My head is spinning and all I know right now is that I NEED to see that file.

July 6, 2009 at 8:18 am 1 comment

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