Finding Seoul

Finding Seoul: The Reunion

December 19, 2016
Korean Adoptee Story – Finding Seoul

It was a complicated mix between feeling as though the two people before me were complete strangers, while at the same time feeling this seemingly present magnetic draw to these individuals who gave me life.


It’s been 3 weeks…

It’s been 3 weeks and I still find myself processing and trying to decipher exactly how I feel. I don’t think there’s ever really a proper or correct way to prepare for a moment like this and then equally understand how to cope with it after.

The Reunion Weekend

I mean, I did the best I could to mentally prepare myself in the weeks leading up to the reunion. However, I spent most of the weekend having fun with friends. Honestly I think this was a stellar distraction and one that I very much needed. My mind needed this time to relax and just enjoy life in the present. It prevented me from continuously drowning in my thoughts and allowed me to have a little fun. The night before, I began the mental preparation. I wrote a little in my journal and then managed to get a couple hours of sleep.

The day of…

In the hours leading up to the reunion, my friend and I found this cute coffee shop. After ordering our coffee, we decided to walk up to the very top level to enjoy the scenic view. We pretty much made ourselves at home and monopolized that tiny space until it was time to go. I found it to be very relaxing. It was nice to just sit still and drink my coffee in the company of a great friend. As it got closer, I decided to write a little more in my journal and listen to music. I was listening to my Spotify playlist and one of my favorite songs by the Goo Goo Dolls came on shuffle. Everything about the lyrics to “Iris” was hitting me in my core, directly in my soul, and in that moment tears were my only response.

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Arriving at Eastern

We arrived a little bit early so I could do a case file review with my social worker. The case file review allowed me to see all of the contents that had accumulated in my file over the past 23.5 years. The file was approximately 2.5 inches thick if that gives you any idea. After the review, I had a 5 minute gap before my birth parents were scheduled to arrive. Everything felt out of whack. My stomach was in my throat and my heart was racing out of my chest.

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The Meeting Begins

I took a few deep breaths and there they were.

Beautiful as ever, they walked in the door and we all broke into tears. They each took a hand and embraced me as we cried together.

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My birth father remained particularly emotional throughout the entire meeting. My mother was clearly overwhelmed with emotion, but remained solemn and appeared to be the type who conceals outward expressions of emotion. During the meeting, I learned that my birth father is extroverted and my birth mother is introverted, so it made sense.

Time evaded me throughout the meeting. It felt like 10 or 15 minutes slipped by before we gained composure and began talking, but in reality it may have only been 5 minutes or so. Seconds felt like minutes. That was okay with me though. Because the future beyond this meeting was uncertain, I made a dedicated effort to soak up every single moment I had with them.

The Basics

We covered many of the basics. I learned about their majors in college, their current occupations, where they live, and their passions and interests. It was crucial that I got to know them on an individual level. Furthermore, I was interested in identifying any parallels that exist despite the distance. I did find some similarities.

Discovering the Truth

Embedded throughout the basics were the big topics and questions. The questions I’ve waited all my life to get answers to. To gain clarity.

I discovered the truth behind why they gave me up for adoption. They had a lot going on at the time. My birth mom was suffering from postpartum depression and they weren’t doing well financially. Discovering I had birth defects the day I was born just became another stressor. That’s when they ultimately made the tremendously difficult decision. They wanted me to have a better life in another country where I could receive higher quality medical care. And for once in my life, I was able to come to peace with the immeasurable discomfort and stress I endured throughout my childhood and adolescent years. I was able to appreciate my imperfections because of where it brought me in life.

My Siblings

I learned about their majors, interests, personalities, etc. I did get to see a few pictures, but the image quality wasn’t the best so it was hard for me to get a good grasp of what they look like. Regardless, I made a conscious effort to take mental photographs and permanently imprint them in the back of my mind with the hope that someday, I can meet them in person.

Guilty Hearts

My parents expressed how much guilt they feel and how sorry they are for giving me up. They said that they wanted to make this reunion possible for me because they didn’t want to be responsible for letting me down again. They didn’t even have to say anything, I could see it in their eyes.

I told them how sorry I was for reentering their lives. For resurfacing any trauma or guilt from the past and for putting them in a difficult position once again. They responded that I do not have to apologize. The reason being that they are grateful I reentered their lives because it has helped them relieve some of their guilt.

The Meeting Ends

The meeting ended with my birth parents expressing that they need some time to figure out how to break the news to my siblings. My birth father thinks it’s a good idea, while my birth mother was more hesitant because she’s concerned her children will see her in a different light. There was an extensive back and forth conversation about all of this between them and the social worker, but the overall consensus was that they feel it’s important for me to be able to meet my siblings and they think it’s the right thing to do.

The other conclusion was that they do want to eventually have direct communication with me (the alternatives being continuing to use Eastern as a middleman or ceasing communication altogether), however they are concerned about the language barrier. At the time, I think they were pretty overwhelmed. And I think their minds were mostly occupied with the enormous conversation looming over their heads; the one with my siblings. As we move forward, this is definitely the priority. I gathered that they exclusively need to focus all of their energy on tackling this first before they can move on to anything else.

Next Steps

I was told by my social worker that my meeting went extremely well and that I am blessed. This emotionally charged meeting even moved her to tears.

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My meeting seriously went so well, but I’m now struggling with new waves of anxieties. Although it seems like it’s headed in a good direction, my biggest fear is that my parents will decide it’s easier for them to return to a state of normalcy. In pursuit of normalcy, I fear they’ll refrain from telling my siblings and want to cut off all further communication. It’s difficult to not be selfish when it comes to the birth search. However, I understand that I need to be grateful for the one meeting I got. And I am, but at the same time, I can’t help but fear this possible outcome.

Presuming everything goes as planned, it is moving in the right direction. Aside from memories, the only thing I have to hold onto is hope. I hope I get to see my beautiful birth parents once again and I hope that I can meet my biological siblings someday.

I was told to wait; to wait until I hear from them via Eastern. Until then, I will replay the last scene I have of my father over and over and over again. As we said our goodbyes and he loosened his grasp, he repeated the phrase “don’t worry” several times before leaving the room. In this moment, I will never forget the depth of sincerity in his eyes.

Until next time {xo},

hippieseoul

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7 Comments

  • Reply Thia December 19, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Beautiful, nothing bitter at all. Your moment of reuniting with your biological parents shows acceptance, closure and moving on into another brighter day for you and them.

  • Reply Traveling Nun December 20, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Love this so much. Prayed for you and this reunion throughout that weekend and have continued praying. So glad to hear it went well and can’t wait to see what the future will bring. <3

  • Reply Lauren December 20, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing this deeply personal story with us. I’m so happy that the meeting went well! So much has happened in your life so quickly. You’re such a strong person, and I hope all continues to go well and progress with your parents.

  • Reply Jonah Novazzi Lavitt December 22, 2016 at 6:27 am

    I remember meeting a cousin of mine that had never met his fathers side of his family. One of the most interesting things he got from meeting our side, was an explanation of a lot of things he carried with him, emotionally, creatively, spiritually. He had a part of him that was not explained and did not know the source. Upon meeting us, he recognized many of his strengths and weaknesses were shared through our family, and I saw how much peace it gave him; that he finally had this inner-understanding, where, just like your biologic father said, “Don’t worry,” almost as if to say, in my cousins story, that my cousin was finally able to not worry about the source of half of his Character and Identity. What a profound thing; what courage you displayed to enter the unknown, only to find even more sources of love that you never knew existed!! So awesome <3

  • Reply Denise January 15, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you for continuing to share your journey. We love you and miss you.

    • Reply hippieseoul January 15, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      I love and miss you all too!!! Thank you for continuing to read and for your love and support ❤

  • Reply Finding Seoul: Stronger than DNA - hippieseoul August 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    […] this is Thanksgiving week and also the week leading up to the reunion, it seemed appropriate to dedicate a post to all those I’m grateful […]

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