Monday, May 24, 2010

What We Don't Know

I had forgotten how busy a small person can keep you. I had thought that I would be able to write more while I was off on leave (due to the arrival of my son), but I soon came to realize that time is not something I have to spare. I had become spoiled by my six year old son's independence.

Today, however, I found myself thinking about what I don't know. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot that I don't know, but that's what makes me human. Fortunately, my thoughts were a little more grounded in the adoption world and didn't take me out to all the other things that I can't possibly know.

I do know basics about our newest arrival. I know basics about his birth parents and I have medical history since he was born. I know that he had a foster mother who loved him and took very good care of him - you can see it in the pictures and the video. I know how many bottles he had every day and if he took naps.

What I don't know speaks volumes. I don't know exactly what his birth mother was thinking when she made the decision to place him up for adoption. I don't know if his foster mother held him when he woke up at night or if she patted him on the back and sang him a song. I don't know about his extended Korean family or if they even know that he is here. I don't know if he has his birth mother's eyes or his birth father's hair.

I realize that I have more information for both of my children than my parents had. For me, they didn't even have my exact birth date. They knew the basics about what had happened since I had been found, but they had no names to think about when they thought about my birth parents or information about their families.

So, I am happy that I have as much as I do, but I also find myself dwelling on what I don't know. Every time my son can't do something, I wonder if it's because no one asked him to do it before or if it's common in his birth parents' family. It's funny, I didn't go here with my first son. Perhaps, with him, I had too many other concerns. This is new for me and interesting.

With both of my boys, I had hoped that they would come home with a letter from their birth mothers (or birth fathers). Our social worker had told us that it is happening more often. I know that contact scares some adoptive parents, but I keep thinking about all of the things that I don't know and I wish I had it.

10 comments:

theycallmejane said...

It's funny. I was reading this post and thinking, with each of mine I didn't really dwell on what I didn't know. My life with them began the day they came home and I honestly didn't think too much of what happened before. But then, I'm not an adoptee myself. So I wonder if that's the difference. Thoughtful post.

Cavatica said...

I wonder about these things too. When our daughter does certain little things that just seem so characteristic of her, but odd, I wonder - is it just her or a family trait? Little things like an innie-outie belly button and a cute way of shrugging her shoulders. She is a beautiful mystery.

Dawn said...

I have 3 kids adopted from Korea and one from Vietnam. I think it is very sad my kids from Korea (adopted in the 80's) came home with not much information at all about where they came from or any birth family info. And today it seem like it has not changed in Korea. Korean society needs to change in attitudes about adoptees...and adoption! My daughter from Vietnam had her birthfather at her adoption ceremony. Because they believed "you are always part of one another". How can you "give away" your child? We became extended family. Our children do not begin when we adopt them. They have a history and a heritage that belongs to them. To not be concerned about that as an adoptive parent is to deny your child's rights. my opinion...Jane. thank you for your post...

Amy said...

Yes! I am an AP, and I think about this all the time. I think about all of the things you listed and about a million more. Were her parents tall, thin, etc? Where did she get her sense of humor? My daughter came to us at age 2, with her own history and personality, likes and dislikes. I wish I knew more!

Anonymous said...

I always thought it seemed like we got a good amount of information on both of our boys (Korean), but then when I sat down to work on their lifebooks I realized how much more infrmation I wish I had!! Almost every detail provided leaves me with a question I'd like to know more about.

Grace said...

hello! i found your blog by googling korean adoption blogs and i am so glad i stumbled on to it. my husband and i are korean-american and we are adopting our first child from korea. we have accepted a referral for a baby boy and we are waiting for him to be able to come home. any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated...looking forward to reading more of your family's journey! our journey is on our blog: http://chois-r-us.blogspot.com

Anne said...

I knew my parents before I was adopted. My sisters and I were 7,9and 11 before we were adopted (1988). My parents (adoptive) were very strict and didn't want us to speak Korean or do anything that was considered "Korean". My mother would say things like "this is how we do it here, you aren't in Korea anymore". This resulted in, atleast for me, losing all of my connections to Korea. I don't know anything about my culture or the country that I came from. I have vague memories of the life that I had with my sisters (thank god we were all adopted at the same time by the same people). Our mother did write us a letter. We read it together as a family. We contacted the orphanage and our extended family sent us pictures of what they thought was us. I'm pretty sure my baby picture is that of a male cousin. ha ha ha Anyway, I just wanted to say that I cherish those pictures. They remind me of who I was and where I came from. I have a picture of my father which makes me smile, because he looks just like my sister! I wish I had a pic of my mother because she left when I was three and because according to my sister I look like her. However, in the end, I feel like what I don't know doesn't matter much as long as I'm happy, healthy and not using an outhouse anymore. :)

MJ said...

I found your blog on Korea Blogroll. I am so happy you adopted from Korea! It's nice to read about a fellow Korean adoptee. Thanks for sharing :)

Beidy said...

Hi, I'm thinking about adopting in Korea. I found your blog. I need to get more insights and wise words to think about it. I come from a country where adoption is not common, not well seen, and not easy. so that is why it has taken so long for me. Now we think we have a possibility in Korea, thanks for your blog,

Molly Gaudry said...

Like Grace, I found your blog by Googling "Korean Adoptee blogs." Today, over at The Lit Pub, I am talking about my experiences as a Korean adoptee. I may know more about my birth family than many adoptees, but I suppose my post today is about the years that I didn't know the answers, and, how, learning the answers didn't help and maybe only made it worse. I hope you will come check us out. The Lit Pub is new, but our mission is to connect people -- to connect readers and writers particularly -- but to connect people with shared experiences most of all.

http://thelitpub.com/chapter-one-the-chronology-of-water/