Denied Existence

To say that the past 24 hours were rough would be an understatement. In fact, during the night I kept waking up, hoping that the events of the day were a nightmare and that life was still okay, just to realize that the events were indeed my reality, and that life was far from okay. In between the cycle of restless sleep, waking, and sobbing uncontrollably I realized that this must be what people talk about when they refer to being in hell.

I awoke to a dream that reminded me of a place that still holds my thoughts captive, forcing me to remember everything– the joys, the hardships, and everything in between. It was a dream where someone from a different country came to the US, found me, and said “come back. we love you and miss you so much.” This forced me to examine the question “why?” yet another time, still finding no adequate answer.

In addition, although it wasn’t my birth mom in the dream, it was close enough to immediately take my thoughts to my birth parents and how much I was wanting, no craving, to hear those words from them– words that let me know that people loved me, unconditionally and forever.

In the beginning of my birth search, I protected myself and kept thinking  that if people gave me up, then they didn’t want me, end of story. However, as the search progressed and I began learning little details about them, I slowly let down my protective barrier. I began to read about how life, as factory workers, would have been. I began to have empathy for them. I began to understand their decision. I began to love them.

And in between all of these beginnings, I pieced together an imaginative narrative that I foolishly allowed 80% of myself to believe– one in which my parents wanted me back more than anything else, revealing that they never wanted to relinquish me, but were forced to given the structures at play. It was a narrative in which they loved me back. Reading letters from Korean birth mothers where many of the mothers described how they looked forward to the day where they could be reunited with their child made this narrative real, believable, and attainable.

In addition, I began thinking about what the words used to describe my birth parents (active, social and gentle) meant. These words describe people who I love, so well, that I automatically projected their personalities onto what I would hope my birth parents would be like. To me, this meant that they would want to be reunited with me. That was the only option.

This imaginary narrative that I allowed in created what tiny bit of hope I had left, which was enough to get me through even the darkest days.

Yesterday this hope, what had become my life support, was completely cut off.

The woman at the adoption agency called me to inform me that Holt Korea had contacted her with news on my search.

(Cue dramatic music)

They haven’t been able to locate my birth father, but they have made contact with my birth mother. Apparently, numerous telegrams had been sent to her, all of which went ignored. Being persistent, they kept sending her telegrams until she finally responded. Her response? Pure denial. She claimed that she didn’t know what they were talking about and that she had never had a child. She denied my existence. Still being persistent, the agency continued to send telegrams until she was forced to respond again. This time, she acknowledged that she was the correct woman and that she had given birth and relinquished a child, but she made it clear that she had a family, didn’t want any communication with me, and never wanted to be contacted by the agency again. My adoptive mother was right all along: my birth parents didn’t want me and didn’t love me. I really was a mistake.

Doing my best to stay upbeat and repress thoughts that were quickly overtaking me, I pressed the woman at the agency for more information– what does she know? do I have siblings? what exactly did my birth mother say? I didn’t even care what I would hear, I just wanted some indication that my birth mother cared…at least a little. I needed my dandelion in the spring.

The response was essentially along the lines of ‘you can find that out when you review your file in Korea.’ Everything in me wanted to yell at her you have my information right in front of you! This is my information, my past, my parents…not yours! You’ve made me pay just to see my file and now you’re withholding such fundamental knowledge from me? How can one human being do that to another? Instead, since I was beginning to fall apart, I just politely said “okay, thanks” and hung up the phone.

As unbearable as not knowing was, at least I could still hold onto the thought that maybe, just maybe my parents loved me. That someone loves me.
But as it turns out, I’m unlovable.

And now I have nothing left.

I feel so stupid for even thinking that they would want to know about me. 
Of course they wouldn’t.


4 thoughts on “Denied Existence

  1. I know this has to hurt so much. And I wish I had something that could make it better. I do want you to remember that your birth mother’s behavior reflect on her (her situation, her ability to face discomfort and fear) and not on how lovable you are. You are loved. While it is true that your birth wasn’t intended. It was viewed as a mistake by your mother. But you are not a mistake. You are a wonderful person: kind, compassionate, intelligent, funny, patient, beautiful, strong, brave. I admire so much about you and wish I could be more like you (more able to be happy and cheerful even when I’m feeling stressed.)

    This is not the end of your story. This is a new beginning. It’s okay to let yourself grieve. You need to do that. It’s okay to feel like you’re crashing and bottoming out. But, do remember that you can rise from these ashes. You have so much to give to the world, to yourself and to others. You will be a wonderful mother yourself someday. Even though you haven’t felt unconditional love from a parent, you seem so able to give it to others. You weren’t brought to the earth intentionally, but we are very glad you are here. This is what a hero’s journey is all about: facing down our worst demons, walking through fire, and coming out the other side. And, you know that we are with you to hold your hand through it. Or just envelope you in a family hug. We love you so much.

  2. I just began reading your blog a few days ago. I admire you for being so candid about your search, even with its disappointments. This is not over. Something good will come of this.

  3. I’d like to echo Sarah: not only are you absolutely lovable, you ARE LOVED. Despite uncertainty, you have become an incredible person and I can’t imagine life without you. You may feel fragile right now, but your strength through this has been great.

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