Search and Reunion
Ever since I got involved with the adult Korean adoptee community it seems that the notion of search and reunion has defined our existence. We live for the day when we might be reunified with our birth parents. It is a story of hope, and ultimately of eternal happiness-something that has devoured my every thought, emotion and existence.
When I first heard that my agency had found my birth mother I was not only shocked but excited. I knew that I had only begun my journey and that things would unravel from here. The week when I received my first letter and photo from my birth mother I felt joy in seeing a face that looked like me-features that for all my life I had taken for granted until I starred at the face of my biological creator. “Cover her eyes like this and I can see your nose, lips and chin in her,” said my partner. She has been there for me every step of this journey and will continue as I get closer to the day that I’ll meet my birth mother. But amongst all this joy and happiness, I began to feel the bottom drop off of the only ground I had stood upon my entire life. As my happiness fell away I felt a wave of emotions that I had never experienced before in my life-happiness, sadness, loss and a deep sense of connection to someone I had never met before-someone connected to me only blood. I feel like I’m still falling down an endless spiral of emotions unable to see the ground.
The last couple of mornings I’ve gotten up I’ve had a headache and all I can see is the photo of my birth mother starring through the picture into my head. When I first saw her photo I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I soaked in every angle, feature, and strand of hair on her hoping to recreate a real life scene where she was standing looking at me. But the more I starred at her picture the more I could feel her gazing back at me. I knew she was starring right back at me through my photo thousands of miles away. I closed the photo on my computer but her face was indelibly etched in the back of my head. Since I first received her photo I try to look at it at least once a day, but it’s hard. I see a woman whom I resemble, and I think about her life at 21 when I was relinquished, a time not too far off from where I am right now. I imagine myself in college taking classes and hanging out with friends but with a baby bouncing on me knee. It’s an image that I know now has scared me my entire life as a young adult-something that I didn’t realize I was afraid of until I confronted the face of my own young birth mother. I can’t imagine being a parent now, and I can’t even fathom being a parent at 21.
So many people have written to me congratulating me and saying how wonderful it must be and feel. And I appreciate all of them for their support and good wishes. I had always looked toward this day as quite possibly one of the happiest days of my life. I had listened intently to those friends who had found their birth parents and congratulated them feeling a sense of hope for my own search story. I still haven’t even met my birth mother in person but the day will come soon enough. But in all the stories of search and reunion, sadness never seemed to be part of the equation. And that’s not to say that I’m completely unhappy. However, I can’t seem to shake the feelings that have been bottled inside me for the woman who created me. They are of joy and happiness, but they are of sadness, regret and shame-I am feeling her loss, I am feeling her joy. They are hers and mine, the only things we seem to share; bonded by blood, reunified by loss.