Psst. We want to share a little secret with you, dear reader. Contrary to what adoption agencies and certain adoption professionals believe, adoptees are not perpetual infants/children. It turns out adoptees grow up like the rest of us! Who knew?! Some of them even, “Gasp!,” become parents to children of their own. I know. I know. Hard to believe, right? Need evidence? Here you go.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: You write a monthly column called “Heart and Seoul” for KoreanAmericanStory.org. For folks who don’t know, what is KoreanAmericanStory.org and what types of topics do you cover?
Julie: KoreanAmericanStory.org is a non-profit organization that was started to collect and archive the stories of the first couple of generations of Korean-Americans. We now have a history here in America, but our stories are not being collected and archived for future generations – until now. The stories are collected through creative works such as writing, poetry, videos, etc. By the way, very soon we will be putting out a call for work, and so all of you creative types should look out for that!
My monthly column “Heart and Seoul” is based on my perspective as a Korean-American woman who was adopted and now has a multi-racial family of my own. My twins are Black-Korean-American. I also do interviews of interesting Korean-Americans for the “Profiles” section. My latest was of the singer Ameriie. And right now I am working on my next profile of Marja Vongerichten, a fellow adoptee! It should be published soon.
KoreanAmericanStory.org is very inclusive. This is one of the reasons why I love it so much. For me, I know that often times as an adopted person I have felt left out or awkward in other Korean organizations. In fulfilling the mission of KoreanAmericanStory.org through the collection of stories, the organization is cognizant of including all Korean-Americans, whether adopted, biracial, or not.
LGA: Sweet! You wrote a wonderful piece entitled “The Magical Number 3” a year and a half ago. Please talk us through it and what, if anything, has changed since you wrote the piece.
Julie: Yes, that was the first piece I wrote for KoreanAmericanStory.org. I was adopted at the age of three. I think, like many adoptees, becoming a parent had a huge affect on me. It was extremely important for me to have children from my and my husband’s DNA, but it was a huge struggle for us. It took almost six years to finally win the advanced medicine lottery also known as in-vitro fertilization to become parents.
That six year struggle to become a mom, plus the fact of being adopted, sort of makes all-things parenting related even more intense. A few months before my son and daughter were going to turn three, I started having all of these seriously intense emotions about them turning the age that I was when I was sent away to be adopted. At times, the sadness of trying to imagine sending one of my kids away – alone, on a plane to a different country, a different language, a different family – was so intense that I would just start crying. It made me imagine more vividly than I had ever done before what I may have been thinking as that small, three year old girl. So, “The Magical Number 3” was my catharsis of some of those emotions.
Of course finally becoming a mom has been healing for me in so many ways. I guess that answers the second part of this question – what has changed is that my healing continues. Through being a mom, I feel some reconciliation of having been adopted; I’ve come close to “full circle.” Having my own family makes me feel more whole and anchored. Oh, and the other thing that has changed is that my kids are now four and a half years old, and time just keeps going by faster and faster!
LGA: After that know-it-all guy Kevin Ost-Vollmers announced on Facebook the forthcoming CQT Media And Publishing/Land of Gazillion Adoptees book about “adoptees parenting,” you said: “The book idea is one that should have been done a long time ago!” Would you mind elaborating?
Julie: As you know, our voices as adopted adults has been ignored for far too long. So, anything that puts our collective voice out there is important. However, in addition to that, I think there are stages in the journey of an adopted person. I think that one of the major stages is becoming a parent. Becoming a parent is obviously a huge step for everyone, but for adopted people I feel there is a significance that cannot be put into words. As I’ve mentioned, I think there is a lot of healing and reconciliation that can come from becoming a parent. Also, I think when we become parents we may discover emotions that we didn’t know we had.
I can’t wait to read the book!
LGA: Thanks, Julie! And to you, dear reader, we strongly encourage you to go checkout KoreanAmericanStory.org. It’s great!