Korean Adoptee Story – Finding Seoul
Over the past couple of months, I’ve become a huge fan of the YouTube channel, Asian Boss. What I love most about them is their insane ability to capture meaningful content, tell a compelling story, and encourage you to think from all angles. Especially in today’s world, I think what they’re doing is vital and absolutely needed.
Since many of their videos are filmed in Korea, I decided to reach out. In mid-July I sent a message their way expressing that I’d love to see a series on Korean adoptees. I shared that I’m an adoptee living in Korea and elaborated a little about how I’ve been able to connect with my birth parents. Then I said, if by some chance they film before I leave, I’d love to be a part of it. I wasn’t quite sure if I’d hear back, but they responded not too long after. They said that they’ve thought about making a video on Korean adoptees and they’d let me know if they film it by the end of August.
3 days later, I got a message from them saying they’d like to meet with me at their office. I happened to be in Seoul that day for an eye check up, so it worked out well. I met both Kei and Steve and that’s how it all started.
Throughout the entire process they were always committed to telling my story. Nobody else’s and not some fictitious story…purely my story. And for that I’m grateful.
I’m a bit hesitant to see the final product because let’s be real…who actually enjoys watching themselves on camera? Not me. I didn’t realize how camera shy I’d be until we began filming. Although it’s merely a device, there’s something about consciously knowing how many people will be watching that affects your behavior in peculiar ways. I definitely wasn’t as articulate as I would have hoped and I was also feeling the pressure of wanting to represent the adoptee community well. Then on top of that, just knowing how expansive Asian Boss’ audience is was a huge source of intimidation. All factors considered, I did the best I could and hopefully it translates well to screen.
My appa wasn’t comfortable with being filmed in an interview setting (and rightfully so), but he did say he was okay with being filmed from a distance and agreed to Asian Boss being at the airport to film our final goodbye. The day of, I was so exhausted from an emotional week of goodbyes and packing that I actually feel like my exhaustion influenced a more natural “me.” Raw, emotional, and uncomposed. In addition, I definitely felt more comfortable with the cameras the second time around. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.
To speak a little more about my goodbye with my appa, it was excruciatingly difficult as I anticipated it would be. My eomma was actually supposed to go too, but she wasn’t feeling well that day. I was obviously disappointed, but understanding of her condition. Something I’ve learned about her over the past year is that she’s not as comfortable with outward expressions of emotion as my appa is. Perhaps it all worked out the way it was supposed to. I know nothing is final and I know I’ll be seeing them again. And maybe next time I’ll even be able to meet my brother and sister. But as much as I attempt to reassure myself with these thoughts, it still doesn’t make any of this easier or less complex.
Thank goodness my friend, Alex, was there to support me through it all. We both leaned on each other a lot. She was also torn up about leaving Korea and was experiencing her own heartache. But because we were traveling together post-Korea, we were able to be there for each other at the airport. Speaking for myself, I don’t know how I would have been able to do it all alone.
Moving forward, I’m excited for my upcoming adventures spanning these next few months, but I can’t help but think about my appa and eomma. I miss them every single day. I don’t think this feeling will ever dissolve and that’s one of the tragic elements of my case. I spoke about this on camera a little, but I’ll write about it here too. No matter how “successful” your case is, there is always going to be some tragic element. And that’s the reality.