Confessions: The act or process of confessing, as in telling one’s life story as a series of failings or tribulations.
Adoptee: One, such as a child, that is or has been adopted.
Adoption: To take on the legal responsibilities as parent of a child that is not one’s biological child.
“If you could only save one” Dutch bestselling author Jan de Hartog’s famous words, said in 1968, together with images of his Korean daughters and the entire country was into intercountry adoption. Thanks to the media, everyone thought adoption was a blessing, something you must do, even without thinking. The wave of adoption crashed on South Korea and found a lot of children that needed a family. A lot of people in The Netherlands, as in thousands, signed for adoption and wanted to give a Korean child, for example, a better life. From early seventies to 1988 more than four thousand children came to The Netherlands and I, I was one of them. I was adopted in 1980, March 27th to be precisely. In this blog, I would like to give you a sneak peek into my life as an adoptee. How do I feel and think about things and how will they affect me as an adoptee, but most of all, how will it affect me as a woman? I would like to see myself as a living, breathing creature; maybe unwanted, but still a gift of Mother Nature, a human being. These are my confessions, the confessions of an adoptee.
First generation adoption from Korea
For almost two decades, children were adopted from Korea. Blame the media, call it idealism, blame society for smoking too much flower power, maybe people got tired of war imagines and wanted something different, something life changing; so, let me ask you this: is adoption a solution to war and world chaos? Such thoughts cross my mind when reading history. Korea ended intercountry adoption in 1988. With the Olympic Games the country wanted to have a better status than ‘delivering babies’. From that moment, Korea became a more developed and wealthy country, but kept their adoption doors hidden.
So, here’s me, trying to reveal hidden things, break patterns and speak. Undo myself from unwanted clothes and replace them for the best suit ever. I won’t tell you my life was rubbish, because it simply wasn’t that bad to spit my words straight in your face. I will tell you my honest thoughts and my values, how my opinion changed when I grew up and started to think more about it. For a long time I just believed what my (adoptive) parents told me, I didn’t really thought about it for myself. It all started to change when I grew older, but honestly, since the last six years my interest, my need to understand Korean culture with her values grew with me. So I created a place where I can be me. A woman, a friend, a wife and a mother. The girl who’s dressed in black with a splash of insanity, and a dash of wickedness to keep her brain alive and her soul breathing.
My younger years
I wasn’t very interested in my adoption when I was younger, it was there, but it wasn’t really bothering me. I was just born in a different country, sometimes kids yelled something, but hey, with two big sisters I got my security detail by hand. Other than that, I was too busy with being a playful child. Show my little world that I was a big girl, big enough to show you all there was nothing wrong with me, just your average girl next door. With the gift of two sisters, both my parents’ biological children, I was a happy, young child. There was never any difference between my sisters and me. Of course, they looked different, but hey, not everyone looks the same, right. Most important thing was that we lived in a family where harmony and love was felt. Real questions about adoption popped by many years later.
So, like I said. I was adopted March 27th. In my younger years, me and my family called it my second birthday. For many years, we celebrated that day with presents. I felt spoiled with two birthdays. When I got older, I don’t remember my age precisely, but I started to doubt the whole second birthday thing. Was is fair to my older sisters, they had only one. Although I never spoke about it, never told anyone about it, this idea started as a small one. Like every seed grows and becomes a beautiful plant or flower, this idea grew as well. It grew in to a beautiful new idea: Arrival day. From celebrating this day with my family, I started to do this my way, the attention of my family did stay, but now I had more contact with a group of adoptees, the ones who flew with me on that one special day. I’ve met them for the very first time on March 27 2005. From that date, for me, arrival day was born.
Actually, it was a very special and unique change of celebrate that day. It felt good, as if it supposed to be like that. But from that moment, my head didn’t stop and continued her way of thinking. What if I changed my date of birth to March 27th? What does my date of birth means? My original date of birth is approximately November 20th. To me it doesn’t mean much, but my arrival day means a lot more. It’s the day my existence started. Of course, my life started earlier, but it doesn’t felt like that. And what do I tell people, I need to do a lot of administration, etc. What is more important to me, my existence or my birth, or are these two things the same, maybe, but obviously not to me…
Adoption isn’t always easy and comes with many questions, maybe there are answers, maybe not. Dive with me in this deep ocean, swim with me and I’ll show you there is beauty in crashing waves.