Wednesday, November 18, 2015

National Adoption Month 2015

National Adoption Day is officially November 21st. Some of you may know that I was adopted when I was around 8 months old. I came to the land of the free, home of the brave courtesy of United Airlines on April 11, 1987. Before that, I lived in a foster home; the only remembrance of that time, one photo of an Asian lady holding me. 

When I found out that National Adoption Month is actually a thing, I knew I wanted to write something about it, I just didn't know what the angle would be. I thought about interviewing adoptive parents and other adoptees, or maybe sharing my own adoption story.

Instead, I thought I would answer common questions I get asked, even as an adult. I don't take offense to these questions and know people are genuinely curious about what it's like to be adopted. Hopefully, my answers will help to educate you about adoption (at least by my experiences). 

1.) How long have you known you were adopted?
FOREVER. I don't remember a time when I didn't know. It was always something that just was. I remember when my mom gave me a cute picture book about adoption. I loved reading it and felt strangely connected with the yellow haired boy on the cover.  I can picture it in my head as I type this. I tried Googling it and for once Google did not have the answer. Bummer. Anyways, I viewed being adopted as something that made me extremely special and chosen rather than in a negative light.  I knew that I looked different than my parents but it was what it was. End of story. Part of my perspective I know, is because I was told so early on and always had an open dialogue about it with my mom. April 11th was coined as my "Happy Day" and we would do something special on the day that I arrived. It was a day of celebration and I loved telling people why we were celebrating.

2.) Do you want to meet your real parents? 
When I get asked this, honestly- I get confused. Mostly because my "real" parents are the parents that are in my life. They are my REAL parents. Who I grew up with. She is my mom. And nothing will ever change that.  It isn't even a question in my mind. Sometimes it takes me a minute to respond because I slowly start to realize what they REALLY are asking. So, instead, I usually reply with the answer that at this time in my life, no I do not wish to meet my biological parents. I've never had a yearning to meet my biological parents and I think sometimes this surprises people. I keep waiting for the moment when I want to. Sometimes I feel like I SHOULD want to. Every year, I do wait for it- particularly when you hear about those reunification stories- I wait for the yearning, the want to find my biological parents. And the truth is- it isn't there yet. Maybe it will come. Maybe it won't. And I'm OK either way.

I know my family members who are in this picture are really quite thrilled that I'm posting this =)

3.) Why were you adopted?
When I was younger, I got asked why I was given away. Why my real parents didn't want me. It was a tough question to be asked, even in my 2nd grade state of mind. I don't remember what I replied with, probably just a simple "I don't know." The truth is I really don't know and I probably won't ever know. And that's ok. My adoption was international and very little is known about my biological parents. I remember asking the question of WHY to my mom and she replied that they weren't in a place to take care of me. The answer was good enough for me and it still is.

I mean, I know I'm supposed to be a pumpkin but it kind of reminds me of these hats:

See what I mean?

4.) Do you want to adopt someday? 
YES. 100% unequivocally yes. Do I have a plan for when and how? No. Have Will and I seriously tossed the idea around? Yes. I'm not 100% sure of the struggles/challenges/barriers that my mom faced before, after and during the adoption process but adoption has always been on my radar as an option. I have seen the positives, negatives, and even some challenges of being the kid of adoption and despite those, know how incredibly blessed I am to have been adopted and living the life I have. I know that if I hadn't been adopted, this beautiful, perfectly imperfect life of mine would not be what it is. Part of my daily gratitude for life and the things I have are because I know how extremely different my life could have been if  1.) I hadn't been adopted 2.) If I hadn't been adopted into the family I was given. The opportunities that have been provided to me, the blessings that have been bestowed to me were all made possible by two individuals going through an emotional storm of their own and opening up their hearts to a child that was not biologically theirs. And for some reason, God pointed me in their direction. If that isn't some good stuff right there, I don't know what is.

5.) Do you speak Korean?
I get asked this ALL. THE. TIME. And mostly by people who might not know that I am adopted. But I even get it from people who know I am adopted. Again, no offense taken. To answer- no, I don't know one lick of Korean- wait, I take that back! I know mom- eomma (uma). But alas, the best I got as far as knowing a foreign language is four years of high school Spanish.

6.) Where are you from?
Again, very well meaning, no harm intended, individuals ask me this all. the. time. Grown adults will ask me this question and I still get a kick out of their faces when I reply, "Marshalltown, Iowa." They stumble a little and say, "I mean where were you BORN?" Because an Asian can't be born in America, now? Again, no offense taken but this is one that I encourage you to be sensitive in asking about and how you ask it.

Look at that! Already stylin' in the 90's. I got my crossbody bag, leggings, and oversized sweater. And those lace socks? I can't even.

So, those are the most common questions I got as a child and even get as an adult about adoption. I hope these may answer your questions or even made you aware about adoption in the first place.

Check out this post where I reflect on how being adopted may impact how I raise my kids.

Thanks for visiting! It's almost FRIDAY! Check back here tomorrow because I'm sharing my favorite gift ideas for kids!