What’s up LGA Nation? Below is our conversation with David Moschkau, President of the AK Connection. It’s so awesome to see male adoptees, like David, Jason Carpenter, and Allen Majors, take on leadership roles in the adoptee community, and we hope this “trend” continues.
P.S. The Declassifed Adoptee, aka, Amanda Woolston, is now an editor here at LGA. More on that later.
P.P.S.S. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from us next week. We’ll be on a short vacation.
David: So far, we have had a couple social gatherings and a couple of learning events. Our discussion about the experiences with birth family search and reunion was a big success. The panel consisted of all the current board members and Lisa, our past president. And the lecture by Jae Ran Kim, “The model minority of the model minority”, was also a very informational and interesting event. A lot of great discussions about the information and personal experiences took place.
LGA: Why do you think there’s a general hesitancy within the male adult adoptee community to step up and take leadership roles like you have?
David: I think there is a general hesitancy within the male adult adoptee community to be public with their adoption story. I avoided it for almost 35 years myself. It’s a distraction to your life when struggling with work, family, relationships, and friends already take up 100% of your life. So, if they perceive themselves to not have enough time to be an active member, I don’t see how they could step up to leadership responsibilities. I think women are more in touch with their feelings and want them to be expressed and find out why and how to overcome the same struggles that both sexes have. So, women are able to make it a priority in their lives, which oftentimes means taking the reigns and leading.Whenever I see another male besides myself at an event, it brings a smile to my face. Sometimes, I’m too busy during the event to talk to them and being bashful, they quietly exit before I even notice they are gone. Men are more elusive than the infamous Minnesota Snipe! So, I want to call out to all you male adoptees, we want you! There are lots of women at our events! (hint, hint)
LGA:You were part of the previously mentioned panel discussion. Would you mind offering a quick overview of what you said?
David: The panel consisted of all the current board members and Lisa Medici, our past president. We all have gone through a birth family search and shared our experiences searching and meeting our birth families. We talked about our search methods, resources used, and the struggles. And for those of us that were succesful in our search, we shared our stories about meeting our families and some of the cultural faux pas encountered.
My story is a little different. I never searched and wasn’t ready to search. I was one of those males that was ignoring my adoption story until “later” when I had my life together, which we all know is an unattainable goal. One night after getting home from a family Thanksgiving dinner, my phone rang at 11PM. I first was annoyed that someone was calling so late but then thought maybe something happened to my parents. When I answered the phone, there was the broken English voice of my Korean sister on the line. She is the eldest sister and had married an American army man stationed in Seoul. She moved to Florida with him. After about 15 years living in Florida, she finally got the nerve to call information and ask for all the people with my last name. Luckily, there are only about 6 families with my last name in Minnesota so I was the 3rd person she tried on the list.
I was in a state of bewilderment, but not really excited about the idea of finding my birth family. I wasn’t ready. I did the proper thing, though, and planned a trip to Florida to meet her. She brought my birth Mother to Florida also on a short visa stay. This first meeting of my Mom was also bewilderment, but not really exciting. I couldn’t speak Korean and she couldn’t speak English. She cried her eyes out, but I was pretty much emotionless. I realized how little connection I had with her after 30 years of absence.After another 10 years went by, I finally fully accepted my adoption story and had a great longing to connect with my birth Mother and my other siblings that I had not yet met. I have an older brother and sister, and a younger half sister that still live in Korea. So, in the Summer of 2009, I went to Korea and met them.
It was generally a great reunion, and I found a closeness to my family that was unexpected. After all, they were pretty much complete strangers to me. I found characteristics of myself in my brother and Mom. It’s amazing how similar we can be even though most of our lives were spent separated. I had no ability to speak directly to them and had limited translation ability through my niece. So, I still have many questions I wasn’t able to ask and details of things that I would like to know. It’s difficult to stay in contact with them, though. We all have our own full lives on opposite sides of the world and a huge language barrier that defeats us before we can even try.