October Baby

In the middle of making a list of “things to do to keep busy,” I landed on a website looking at showtimes for movies…since going out to a movie is a quite effective distraction-from-life tool.

When it comes to movies, I tend to be a ‘judge the movie by its poster’ type person: does the movie have a catchy poster? If so, I continue on and read the synopsis.

One of the movies, October Baby, was particularly striking for numerous reasons. You can read the synopsis here. Once you do, you’ll probably understand what caught my attention.

The quick synopsis is this:

Girl collapses due to a complicated birth –> finds out she’s adopted (after a failed abortion) –> becomes angry and confused –> goes on a journey to find her “hidden past and find hope for her unknown future.”

Ha. Now THAT is a coincidence.
Is this really a movie that’s in theaters right now, seriously? I realize I don’t really matter in the world, yet at the same time can’t stop feeling like I’m important enough for the world to go out of its way to make me miserable via throwing the topic of adoption in at every turn.

While browsing the reviews and the movie website, I learned that it’s a Christian movie (read: it has an agenda) and one its supporters is Bethany Christan Services (which is one of the partnerships for the trip I’m going on). Other supporters include Focus on the Family (gag) and Heartbeat International, among others. Given what I know about Holt International and Bethany Christian Services, I can imagine what the main agenda is– give your child up for adoption! It’s god’s plan! And it’s what’s best for you and your baby!

Although the movie looks like a bad lifetime movie, which means it must be pretty terrible, the allure and the reason I may pay close to $10 to see it, is the “find hope for her unknown future” line.

I’m at a point where I’ll read and/or watch almost anything if it gets me even a little closer to (re)finding hope, which is why I’m still going to Korea even though I’m dreading it…because maybe it won’t be that bad at all. I feel like being in Korea is my only chance at rediscovering the peace and hope I once had, like it’s my only way toward the possibility of healing.

There’s an urgency of needing to find out now if this will resolve things because I can’t hold out much longer.

And I’ll only know if I go.

Big Steps

12/9/11

On December 9, 2011 I made the decision to attend the 2012 Holt-Bethany Korea Adult Adoptee Tour. This means that in a little more than 5 months I’ll be on my way to South Korea, the place where I spent my first 5 months of life.

I’ve been filtering through a myriad of emotions and am now resolved (to try) to just live life day-to-day, without thinking about the future implications of such a large decision.

One thing that has helped has been reading other adoptees’ blogs and seeing how their respective families have treated their adoption. Rather than living their life in secret and feeling disconnected from their families, I’m finding that most individuals were brought up knowing and feeling that they were okay and loved, feeling stable and secure. A lot were brought up learning about their heritage and celebrating their “airplane days,” the day that an adoptee was brought ‘home’– a word that still has me searching for meaning.

All of this left me realizing that my upbringing was a little different, slightly unhealthy, and may be the reason why I’m not open to trusting and being vulnerable with others. I’m beginning to work on these things, but after spending my life (thus far) building up tall, strong walls of brick, I’m finding it pretty difficult to even begin deconstructing this barrier. Nonetheless, I’m trying.

A couple of days ago I visited the local library and found a couple of books on adoption, one of which is titled “Lucky Girl.” It’s a great read so far and I’ve found myself thinking “I’m not alone; it was normal” more than once.

Here are some excerpts that I found particularly relatable:

“I had never cared about them before or even thought of them as real people. I never had– nor did I seek– enough information to feel a connection with my biological origins. My mom and dad told me what they knew, and I never sought to know more. This was probably both a conscious and unconscious decision. You are less likely to mourn those you do not realize you have lost– or those who have lost you. You do not yearn for a life that you don’t know exists. Now I not only knew what I had gained from being adopted, but I suddenly was beginning to see what I had missed, and I wanted to know more.”

“But it’s hard to avoid being stained by the ignorance of the people around you– ask any Asian American or other minority. On the mean streets of adolescence, you are on your own in the fight against your demons. I wanted to be anything but Asian. I used to curse being different in my journals and in my dreams at night. I overcompensated. I went out of my way to prove how American I was […] I was Little Miss Everything in high school, class president for three years, captain of the pom-pom team, and a member of almost every club that existed. I excelled at a lot of things: school, socializing, public speaking, organizing. Yet I was a tormented hypocrite. Outwardly I tried to ignore or make light of the stereotypes and slurs. The one time our terrible advanced placement English class actually read a Shakespearean play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I was accidentally cast as the “Chink in the Wall.” I was horrified inside but giggled to deflect the anxiety I felt. I allowed myself to acquire the nickname “Chinky”* […] I would defend my brothers, but I would never have dated an Asian guy. During high school, I resisted even hanging around Asians**.”

*Nickname: Check. (Mine was “Chinkerbelle.”)
**Phobia of Asians: Double check. (For a long time, I didn’t even like Chinese or any other “Asian” food.)

Pediatrician: Dr. Cho

Pediatrician, Dr. Cho, 1986

While doing some (secret) research over the details surrounding my adoption, I learned that I was in an incubator for fourteen days and later hospitalized three times. Next to this information sat a picture of my pediatrician, Dr. Cho.

Although the baby in the picture is not me (the picture appears to have been clipped from a newspaper article), I found the image of this pediatrician to stay with me. Something about realizing that a pediatrician could have been the most stable person in your life during those first few months has a lasting effect. Even though there’s no way she would ever remember baby number K##-####, it’s somewhat comforting to know that I have a picture of someone who would have interacted with me during those formative months, even if said interaction was one as impersonal as sticking me with IVs and checking my breathing.

Pediatrician, Dr. Cho, 2010

As such, you can imagineĀ  my excitement when I was reading the Holt-Bethany Adult Adoptee Tour blog from last year and came across the picture on the right. That’s Dr. Cho in 2010. As part of the tour, individuals were able to go and meet with her at the Holt Reception Center and learn more about her life and work.

After crosschecking (more times than necessary) the picture and name I have with the one on the blog, I finally let it sink in that that’s her. That’s my pediatrician.

She’s real.

She’s alive, reachable and, based upon her disposition in the picture, seems like a really nice person; one that I’d love to talk to (and one that I might be able to talk to in less than a year).