I once had another adoptee tell me that I shouldn’t complain about some of the frustrations I feel with my family in Korea. (“Why won’t they talk with me about my mother’s early engagement to a man who wasn’t my father?” “Why do they pretend they know nothing about my father, but then give me recordings of him singing at a bar?”) This particular person, who was searching at the time, exclaimed with tears in her eyes, “At least you have that!” I brushed her off, thinking she was acting overtly dramatic. In retrospect, I think that this adoptee had a great point.
There are many adoptees who would find some much needed closure simply by meeting the women who gave birth to them. Many of these adoptees would also benefit from supportive adoptive families. Adoptive parents threatened by their adopted sons’ and daughters’ desire to connect with their roots really need to get over themselves. And it would be extremely helpful for adoptees if there was a transparent, user friendly search process.
Below is my conversation with M. S/he requested anonymity for this interview because s/he hasn’t told his/her entire family about the search.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: So, how goes the search for your biological mother? Why did you start the process?
M: My search is going very slow. I have been working with my adoption agency over the course of 5 years with very little information brought to light. I have felt very supported by my direct contact at the agency, but the process can be frustrating and I can go long durations with no news or information on the status of my case. I don’t feel as though I have a clear understanding where my “search fees” are allocated and how exactly this benefits my personal search in working with USA agency and Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS). In the beginning of my search I would contact ESWS, but they would direct my request to my USA adoption agency when what I really was looking for was answers in how the ESWS side operated their search process.
I started the search process in attempt to reach out to my ethnic roots and bring comfort and closure to some long standing questions and feelings of identity, which I have carried since I was a young girl. I want to capture the feeling of understanding where I came from, despite being apart from the culture I spent many years missing or yearning to learn more about. Also, and equally important, I want an opportunity to meet my biological mother and see who I look like and who I came from. My greatest hope would be that she is living a full and happy life without regret or oppression regarding her choices in giving me up for adoption.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: What has been most exciting and frustrating?
M: Most exciting part of the search is when I receive any new information regarding any aspect of my bio-search. For me, receiving her name has been wonderful in the sense that I can put a name to the hope. Most frustrating is the slow process and waiting for hopes which may never come to fruition. It’s a continuous battle and frustrating to remind myself not to get overly excited or wrapped up in my desperate hope to know, see, feel my Bio-Mother.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: If you could do the process all over again, would you do certain things differently or has your approach worked for you?
M: Gosh, if I could do it all over again… I’m not really sure what I would do differently. I suppose I would maybe read more about how to work with agencies here in the USA and the ESWS side (find out what questions I should ask). Maybe find out the most successful way to do a search then go for it all at once? I kinda entered into my search following the protocol which was offered by my agency with no other options in mind.
This approach has been working for me, but also it has been very slow and lacking in communication. But to be fair, I have also not been contacting them on a regular basis either. This approach I’ve been using has often left me feeling lost in the system and that my case just another file in a pile. If I were to do this again, I would definitely take the time to talk to someone face-to-face from these agencies and I would try to become more proactive working with them in my search.