Adoptees – This one’s for You

If you are an adoptee, welcome.

This blog is for you.

For the first thirty years of my life, I was isolated from other adoptees. Sure, I saw them from time to time, giving them the barely visible nod of recognition, but I did not engage.

Growing up, I only had one TRA friend whom I only saw at summer camp for a week each year for about three years. But like many childhood friendships, we lost touch.

One day, when I was 30 years old and a stay at home parent, I happened across a copy of Korean Quarterly and the page I happened to open featured the story of a Korean adoptee and her family. There was something familiar about this woman – her name, the references to her father, and the coincidence that her daughter had my name (which is not very common). There was an e-mail at the bottom of the article and I wrote to this woman, hoping it was my friend from so long ago.

It was. Less than two weeks later, we were sitting in the middle of a coffeeshop catching up on our lives. It was the beginning of my journey to discover who I am as a Korean American adoptee.

I write this blog for you, my fellow adoptee. I hope that the information I write about — the quirky, the touching, the outrageous — in some way informs your journey. Since that day in 1999 when I saw myself reflected in another person who had shared so many experiences as me, I knew I was not alone. One of the biggest tragedies I think many of us adoptees face is that we are so isolated. Many of us have tried for so long to “fit in” with everyone else, that it’s hard to recognize another adoptee. But I’ve come out of the closet as an outspoken TRA. And I want to find solidarity with others who have been informed by adoption.

For too long, our voices have been silenced, patronized and told our experiences do not make us an expert in our own lives. No more. We are the authors and experts of our own lives! No one else can speak for us.

For other adult adoptees sharing their thoughts about the adoption experience, please see the Adult Adoptee Links page here.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.