Mt. Gwanaksan

I’m only 8 days away from leaving.

When I think about how Korea will be I imagine climbing a mountain, intentionally going off the path to find a secluded place away from tourists, and then curling up in a ball for an indeterminate length of time time.

Such a beautiful place to be with friends.


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.

“It’s comforting to know Chris was here,” Billie explains, “to know for certain that he spent time beside this river, that he stood on this patch of ground. So many places we’ve visited in the past three years—we’d wonder if possibly Chris had been there. It was a terrible not knowing—not knowing anything at all.

Many people have told me that they admire Chris for what he was trying to do. If he’d lived, I would agree with them. But he didn’t, and there’s no way to bring him back. You can’t fix it. Most things you can fix, but not that. I don’t know that you ever get over this kind of loss. The fact that Chris is gone is a sharp hurt I feel every single day. It’s really hard. Some days are better than others, but it’s going to be hard every day for the rest of my life.” –Billie McCandless, from Into the Wild

I’m really hoping that going to South Korea will bring some sense of comfort, although right now, thinking about constantly wondering have my parents been here? seems like a dizzying nightmare.

I feel for Billie, and for everyone who ever feels this way.
It’s terrible not knowing anything at all.

And yet, in my life, I’m doing the exact same thing to people.
I’ve often wondered how people can be so cruel to one another, but sadly, I get it.
Sometimes our ideals are bigger than we are.

“Adopt me!”

This morning I came across an article about childhood actress, Mara Wilson, which briefly described why her acting career was short-lived. The content of the article is actually really irrelevant to this post, because it’s the picture that immediately caught my attention, reminding me about one of my favorite childhood movies: Matilda.

The movie is about a little girl, Matilda, who’s parents are less than perfect– the father is a manipulative used car salesman and the mother would rather focus on her own vanity. Matilda on the other hand quickly finds a rich love for books and the stories and knowledge they contain. Unfortunately, her parents don’t understand her passion for learning and would rather her stay at home and mindlessly sign for packages. One day, at the age of 6 or 7, she convinces her parents that she must go to school.

She’s able to go to school, however the school is more like a prison and place of torture than a school. Fortunately, amidst the dark practices and punishments of the school’s principal, Matilda is able to find encouragement, inspiration and comfort in her teacher, Miss Honey.

Her teacher recognizes her potential and delightfully shares her praises with Matilda’s parents, who could really care less. Realizing that Matilda’s parents are preoccupied with other things, namely themselves, Miss Honey and Matilda begin to form a special relationship that continues to grow throughout the entire movie.

Toward the end, the two are sharing tea when Matilda’s family arrives and demand that she leave immediately. They claim that the FBI are onto her dad’s business practice (selling cheap, broken cars as great offers), so they need to get out of the country.

It is at this point that the following conversation ensues:

Matilda: I love it here! I love my school… it isn’t fair! Miss Honey, please don’t let them…
Harry Wormwood: [interrupting] Get in the car, Melinda!
Matilda: Matilda!
Harry Wormwood: Whatever.
Matilda: I want to stay with Miss Honey.
Zinnia Wormwood: Miss Honey doesn’t want you. Why would she want some snotty, disobedient kid?
Jenny: Because she’s a spectacularly wonderful child and I love her.
Matilda: Adopt me, Miss Honey! You can adopt me.
Harry Wormwood: Look, I don’t have time for all these legalities!
Matilda: One second, Dad. I have the adoption papers.
Zinnia Wormwood: What? Where did you get those?
Matilda: From a book in the library. I’ve had them since I was big enough to Xerox.
(some dialogue is occurring here)
Zinnia Wormwood: You’re the only daughter I ever had, Matilda. And I never understood you, not one little bit… Who’s got a pen?

When I was younger, I would watch this movie over and over again (and I still get happy every time I hear this song). I would act out the movie and dance around my room by myself, daydreaming about the day when I would find my Miss Honey…the day when someone who understood me would adopt me and make me theirs.

A few weeks ago I had a conversation where at one point another individual threw up his hands and said “that’s it! We’ll adopt you!” Unfortunately, this didn’t offer the kind of solace I had once imagined because now things are too complicated and too complex. I’ve internalized you alone are the only person you can depend on for far too long, and this legal action wouldn’t be able to change that or any of the other messages which I’ve internalized.

Although I’d love to believe that you can choose your family, the reality is that you can only do this to a certain extent because at the end of the day you’ll once again realize that you’re alone– that this family really isn’t yours, you don’t belong– and that you’re lacking in some essential way.

If only there were a simple solution for all of this.