I was edited this last time writing about my pending trip to Korea. While I am there, there will be another Gathering of Korean Adoptees. There will be hundreds of adoptees in Seoul just for this event. I must commend IKAA for putting together another great event for Korean adoptees all over the world to come and play, interact, learn, share and be a part of a bigger community. This year, the planning committee outdid themselves and have created an event for adoptees and their families. Thus, my family is participating in those events – Children’s Park, Suwon Folk Village, Martial Arts School…very fun indeed.
In preparation for this trip, there is much talk around our home about the pending travel to Korea. My boys are really excited. My big boy is curious, my little one not so much. I have gone over the agenda with them and shared with them the specialness of this visit. Which led to this conversation on our drive to camp the other morning:
P – Are there going to be other kids there like us?
Me – Yeah, so, you will see lots of other kids whose Moms and Dads are adopted. But the coolest part is that a lot of them may not speak English, they may speak Danish, Swedish or other languages, not just English.
G – What? Why?
Me – Cause their Mommies and Daddies were adopted to places like Sweden and Denmark and France and so they grew up speaking other languages.
P – That’s so cool!
G – Mommy, you are so lucky that you are American!
Me – Huh? Why?
G – Then you wouldn’t have met me! Or Daddy or P!
Right. Nothing like a concrete six year old to put things into perspective for me.
The idea of adoption has never been a novel discussion in our home. My boys are very curious about what my orphanage looks like. The idea that I came from an orphanage is somewhat of a fascination to them. While I assumed they understood my personal connection to adoption, my little one reminds me that talking about it has new meaning every time. He came home one day to inform me of a classmate who is adopted. Which led to another conversation of note:
G – Mommy, did you know G was adopted?
Me – yes.
G – You did? How?
Me – well, with a name like (insert Italian surname), and an Asian looking face, I kind of figured that out. Do you know who else is adopted?
P – MOMMY!
G – (Jaw drop, eyes bugged out!) YOU ARE?
Me – yup. And do you know who else is adopted?…(and I rattle off a long list of sisters and “aunties” both my boys know)
G – (Again, mouth agape…no words) Wait, all of them are adopted? What’s adopted?
P – Yes! Adopted means when a mommy gives birth and can’t take care of a baby and she brings the baby to an orphanage or something like that. And another mommy and daddy goes to an agency or something like that to ask them to help them and then they take the baby home. Don’t you know?
Me – (stunned look on my face) Well, that’s one way of putting it. How did you know all that?
P – I don’t know, I just know it.
G – Wait, am I adopted?
Me – No
G – Am I going to be adopted?
Me – No. You have one mommy and that’s me.
G – Well, then do you know who your mommy is?
Me – Yes, and so do you. It’s wei-halmoni. She is gave birth to me.
G – She did????
With bathtime over, the conversation ends. My little G always keeps me on my toes. It takes a few rounds of these conversations before it all sinks in. He reminds me though, that my being adopted does impact his life in no small measure. This trip to Korea is a very big reminder that adoption has a generational link in a way I had anticipated but only now seeing to fruition. My children’s connection to Korea, to being Korean and American, is not like the other kids around here. I see the wheels turning in my big boy as he sorts out what kind of a Korean American he is. His curiosity and pride is so connected to my sense of curiosity and pride. His frustrations and confusions are mine as well. I am merely baby steps ahead of them.