Chapter 1: The Adoptee Community
I was born in Korea. My German parents adopted me when I was three months old and I spent my whole life in Germany until I graduated from university. I then moved to Asia where I now work for an art gallery.
I’ve been in Hong Kong for over two years now. My adoption journey truly started in 2019 when I started meeting with Yann, Phyllis, Gretchen and Eunice. I started opening up about my adoption and became more curious. Eventually Yann and I started the adult adoptees group. It was the first time in my life when I acknowledged that I wanted to be part of the adoptee community, whereas before, I hadn’t been at all interested in that part of my life, or in anything related to my adoption.
During one of our meetings in Hong Kong, I met an adoptee who shared her thoughts on meeting her biological parents and how her relationship with them was after meeting them. Her sharing was something so valuable, it made me realise there was so much I didn’t know and that I’d never thought about before, so it was a bit of an “ah, hah” moment for me. Now I’m experiencing it for myself.
Chapter 2: My Adoption Journey
Growing up, I was never interested in my adoption story, even when my biological mother reached out to me in 2012. I really wasn’t ready to meet her then, and in fact, I was rather upset that she contacted me, so I ignored it for five years until 2019. I decided to reach out to her and to meet her that year because I was getting married that December and it was important to me to address that part of my past. I wasn’t looking for closure but I didn’t want to stay doubtful about my past. So I went to Seoul in October 2019 with my German mother to meet my biological mother for the first time. During the trip, I met my biological mother and my two biological sisters as well. I didn’t get to meet my biological father, he didn’t want to come because he was too ashamed to meet me in person.
We all spent two hours together in Seoul, including with the agency and a girlfriend who was helping as a translator as I don’t speak Korean. It was a super, super scary experience, and definitely the biggest fear that I’ve ever faced. I managed my own expectations before the meeting, so I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but I also didn’t leave Seoul with the feeling of “oh my God! I want to see her again!”
I don’t know if I’m resisting connecting with my biological mother again, or if I’m just not interested in the connection. I don’t think I’m indifferent, but I just didn’t feel anything after our first meeting, I don’t have the desire to continue the relationship at the moment. I think not being able to speak the same language was a big barrier.
Chapter 3: Sharing Myself
Before joining the adult adoptees group, I’d get angry when people asked me about my adoption journey. I’d be like “I have to make a point” or “Why would you ask me these questions?” But now, it’s just sharing myself; it is the same as sharing my adoption.
Adoption is one way of forming a family and having children, but adoptions often come with trauma. I believe it would make a tremendous difference to the adopted child’s upbringing and development if the adopting parents could acknowledge and educate themselves about it. Facing the trauma and dealing with it means you can overcome it, there is drama, but this shouldn’t put anyone off adoption. From my own experience, it can be damaging not to acknowledge and address the issues and there are information, tools, people and institutions such as Mother’s Choice, available for parents to reach out to and access.
Growing up in a small village in Germany, I was never part of a community where I could feel free to share my experiences, so I wasn’t aware of how important it was. Our adult adoptee group meetings are a safe space that we have, to share and to also be vulnerable, and to be comfortable with our stories. To see how important this group is to the other members, especially as none of us have really experienced this kind of sharing before, is pretty awesome.
All donations that Mother’s Choice received in the month of November will be dedicated to Adoption Services. Please support us and check out more about Adoption at: https://www.motherschoice.org/en/what-we-do/for-families/adopt-a-child/