Hello Readers. I have something pretty big to share with you regarding my search, and all of our searches. I found out a month ago when I emailed my case worker at Children's Home. I was sick of feeling helpless with them closing my search. All they did was call the address and ask for my mother. I hear amazing stories of adoption agencies going out and really searching. They get creative and look for relatives, check out where birth parents were born and ask around. Children's Home never did that for me! They also started searching for my second mother (foster mother) months ago, but I hadn't heard anything about it since.
After I snapped off an email to my caseworker Christine, I did what I always do for conversations with a lot of serious content. I made an outline! As we spoke over the phone, I filled it out. It was all very informative, and really hard to hear. But I kept my head in the game the whole time, and asked everything that I wrote down and that popped into my head.
After we spoke I just sat sitting up in bed for a half hour. I was completely frozen, and speechless, and couldn't even cry. I had absolutely no direction, so I just kept sitting there.. I was scared, I'm still scared. Eventually I laid down for a few minutes, and then got up and got ready for me date. The best acting I do is pretending I'm ok, and not telling anyone what's really going on.
This is how the conversation went:
My caseworker told me she was putting in a new request for my foster mother on the first of January, since we hadn't heard anything since August. I asked many questions and she answered them with the fullest content she could. My second mother's name is Mrs. Lee, Ok Hee. (American English: Ok Hee Lee, her first named pronounced like Oak) Her and her husband had been foster parents for 1 1/2 years at the time. There were no other foster babies in her care at the time, but there was her biological son who was 10. So I kind of have a second family, Amazing. My caseworker also confirmed I flew from Incheon airport and arrived July 9th in the states.
My next handful of questions was about the search for my birthmother. I expressed I was deeply concerned that not enough was done. They did ask if she worked there or used to work there, but no one knew her. They did not ask if the bank used to be apartments or check the cities records for that information. When I asked why they hadn't I was surprised..
When they ended my search it was because they hit a ton of brick walls that used to be clear open doors for them, like finding out if the building used to be apartments. They could send someone out and ask around, they could go to the police and have them search like a missing person case. Now they can't do that, in fact it's actually illegal for them to ask the police for help.
Korean Adoption Agency is a new government run agency in Korea. It's not run at all through the adoption agencies, so we're not quite sure how it's supposed to work yet. For years adoptees have been fighting to unlock our birth records, but supposedly for adopted children those are only saved around 5 years. It makes me wonder why we are fighting, but the adoptees of tomorrow need their records too.
I have info on my birthmother about how many aunts and how many uncles I have. I know where she was born, what hospital I was born in, and that her mother owned a draper's shop. These are things that would still be in hospital records and city hall records. I can go to these myself and personally petition (meaning illegally ask for) those records. I have heard of many adoptes doing that.
Agencies record if anyone stops by to ask about a child, or to look at the files. No one has ever come back for me.. But I did ask if the agency would have notified my mother of my placement and if she'd know that I was international. At the time of my adoption most adoptions were international through Eastern Child Welfare Society (my Korean agency). Most of the babies went to either the states or Australia. My caseworker said that at the time of her putting me up for adoption they would have counciled her in these possibilities/options.
I asked if there was any record of my birthmother and second (foster) mother knowing each other or ever meeting. I asked this because I've heard many stories where the foster parent turned out to be a friend or family member. But there is no record my birthmother tried to contact my second mother.
I don't understand why these laws exist. I get that birth parents should be protected, I get that they want to protect adoptees from some horrible truths, but we have a right now to know. We have a right to be able to go home, and know who we are. These are our stories too, and I will not let my story end because the law is in the way of finding the final chapter.
This means searching is even harder, and it's actually much much easier to go to Korea and do it yourself. I still try and contact GOAL each week and still have no word. But I'm also getting afraid that the media would turn my blog into a super negative nightmare. I'm scared I'll never find her. I'm scared I will never have real answers, that the final chapter will be blank forever.
When I was a kid I thought searching for your birth parents was a dream, something impossible and unreal. I thought I'd never know anything. But when I was 19 I discovered all the secret information my adoptive parents had been keeping from me.. I realized I had a chance to find her.
This is the first time since starting my search that it feels like I really may never get answers. I may really never find that last chapter. I'm sorry I didn't tell you guys sooner. The information I got on the new laws effects all of us. It was really selfish of me to ignore all of this because I was also ignoring you and that's not ok.
All I can do is try extra hard to go home to Korea this summer. I need to go home and find out who I am at all costs. I am completely dedicated and determined for this, but.. I'm vastly beyond terrified I'll be one of the lost children of adoption forever.. What if I'm homeless forever?