Finding Her…

It’s been over a month since I found out that Holt has contact information for my birth mother.  It’s information that may have been withheld from me for some time.  Back when I turned 18 I initiated a search for my birth parents through a private investigator in Korea-a PI who family friends had had relative success with.  Unfortunately I was told that identifying information was not on record for me, and even knowing my surname would be like searching for a needle in a haystack.  So I gave up.

Now, after some time, I sort of haphazardly requested more information regarding my birth mother and it magically appeared.  I suppose I’m not surprised, but what’s perhaps more astonishing to me is that I’ve hesitated since I received the information.  It seems like the one thing that has been driving me through out my life-this notion that some day I might have the opportunity to not only contact my birth mother, but maybe even meet her.

A social worker sent me a form to fill out complete with a letter that I should write to my birth mother.  A letter to my birth mother…Yes, that’s been the one thing holding me back.  How do you write a letter to your birth mother?  I thought I knew, but I don’t want to blow this opportunity.  I don’t want to come off too pushy, but don’t want to seem disingenuous.  I want to be honest, but not brutally so.  I’ve written the first sentence of my letter probably close to 20 times now, and I still can’t seem to get the right tone.

I always imagined that this would be much easier than it is.  And even if I do manage to complete this letter to her, there is absolutely no reason for me to expect for anything else to happen.  Who knows, the information could be outdated, she might not be ready to come to terms with my existence…she might not even be alive.

I guess it’s just been easier for me to imagine than it is in reality.  Or maybe it’s just because that’s the only way I’ve been able to digest the notion that my birth mother is out there maybe.  And the whole time, I’ve forgotten that I can rely on the support from other adoptees whom I know only through this blog.  Well, if you have advice, I’d love to hear it.



7 Comments on “Finding Her…

  1. Why can’t you contact her directly? I thought Korea was open. Aren’t they supposed to give information over to you? I know of another adoptee who had to force the issue.

    I hope things go great for you.

  2. Funny how this info just suddenly surfaces in our files, when allegedly none existed before, right?

    I understand your hesitation. I remember how hard it was to sort out my next move, and how difficult it was write that letter, too. I wrote MANY drafts. It was a struggle to decide whether to sum up my entire life story in case I never heard back from anyone, or to just write a little bit and hope that we’d have time in the future to share more. In the end, I wound up with about 2 full pages, handwritten — honest but tempered, considering that it was the first contact.

    My regret is that I didn’t have it translated to Korean first (by someone I trusted to translate what I wrote without trying to “protect” anyone), and that I left that task to someone at the agency. I have a strong feeling that they took the liberty of watering it down and smoothing over the rough edges.

    I feel for you, GS. It’s definitely not easy, so don’t be hard on yourself when the words don’t write themselves. I know how tough it is to settle on the right words with the right tone, but I think as long as you are true to yourself, it’ll be right. I guess this isn’t really “advice,” but you have all my support. Best of luck.

  3. This is the first time I’ve posted, but I was adopted through Holt Int’l too. Their post-adoption services for adoptees is pretty lacking. I tried to get copies of paperwork (which they do keep on everybody) but they wouldn’t release it to me. Apparently they give the information to the parents upon adoption so they told me if I wanted it I would have to go through them.

    Sooo, that ended up being a pretty awkward conversation. haha, I’ve been debating over the past couple years what I want to do with the information but I guess everybody is different.

    If I had to write a letter it would be about who I am and what my life has been like. So no matter what happens at least your birth mom has some sort of closure instead of always wondering? But whatever happens best of luck to you!

  4. Wow.

    This is huge. I’m not surprised it’s taking you so long to write. It’s a big step. Sometimes when the imaginary becomes real, it’s more than we can handle at once, even though we’ve been “rehearsing” it in our minds for years, decades even.

    I can understand wanting to strike the right tone – be honest, but not off-putting. It’s hard. I wonder, though, if maybe you have a bit of perfectionism that is getting in your way? Remember, you can always rewrite the letter. Or you can write several, and then cut and paste the best parts. Just try writing as if you were writing a journal entry, and not The Letter. Anything to unblock you. Then, after getting it all out on paper, maybe go through and pick out what you think you should say to her at this point.

    I hope this helps, not that I have any experience at all with this. I haven’t even searched. I was seriously thinking about it last winter, but then my enthusiasm and interest waned over the summer, and now I’m mostly indifferent to a search. It’s back under “Things I Might Do Someday.”

    Good luck in your effort. I hope you are able to find the answers you need.

  5. Thanks for all your support everyone. Maybe I’m just over-analyzing all of this. But I do want to strike the right tone.

    Ji In – I will definitely get one of my friends to translate it for me. Because I believe that it could get quite watered down if I don’t get my own translation. Although having it already translated to Korean doesn’t stop the agency from watering it down even more. sigh…oh well. I will just have to bite the bullet and do it I suppose.

    Thanks everyone!

  6. I am an adoptive parent. My kiddos are 11 and 9 and we are going to Korea in April. We are working on finding their b-parents, at their request.

    djfeild – I found it interesting that Holt told you the info was released to your parents and you would have to go through them. I am the parent, and when I called seeking more info on my daughter’s birth mother (we are going to Korea in April) they told me they would only release it to her when she is 18. I can’t have it. How frustrating that they are not consistent.

    I agree with the comments on translation. We have been asking for my daughter’s documents (the ones they gave us when she adopted) in the original Korean so we can get them translated by Korean friends – we have had 2 very different translations from Holt and a lot of “save face” stuff. We just want the info straight up so we can work with our daughter on it.

  7. If it’s helpful, when I wrote my first letter it was extremely factual. The second letter was more along the lines of … “Hi, it’s been 5 years since I first contacted you. I’m not really sure what to say in this letter.” Not having the “right” words in this kind of situation is TOTALLY NORMAL! And I think that is the most honest thing one can say…

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