5 a.m. and just getting to bed – only this time it’s because after the long trek from Eastern Washington to my daughter’s house, we watched the movie, Children of Men, and then I had to blog about the reunion a bit.
Kim Sook Ja is a petite woman, merely four inches taller than freakishly short me, salt of the earth, warm, and sweet. She talks a blue streak and has a great sense of humor. We had a lot of laughs together! She really was excited to meet and we spent a good five hours together, comparing lives, pouring over her documents, reviewing the documentary about searching for her, and meeting two of her children. Hearing about her adoption experience, which is a lot like many, if not most, of us older Korean adoptees – difficult – it made me feel a great solidarity with her.
There are some uncanny similarities in our stories, down to both of us leaving home at the same time, both of us having children very young, both of us being in cosmetology school at the same time, both of us – well, those are personal – too many to list.
We look less alike than I thought, though that’s not always an indicator with siblings. She’s very interested in DNA testing and staying in contact. She feels the same as I do, that even if it turns up negative, we are still family. She is not against media attention.
Photo later, after I get home in two days (where my cable to upload is).
It turns out that two years ago when I asked Holt to contact her, Holt said okay, and then rescinded their offer after they had reviewed my file, and then reversed themselves again after I went public with my story – they (as expected) did not tell her we were found on the same day at the same place by the same man… They sent her a letter saying someone thought she was their sister, and to call them. Then they told her not to get her hopes up, because it was not probable. They asked if she was interested in contact, and she told them she was VERY INTERESTED and how about TODAY? To which they told her that it didn’t work like that, that it was a process, and they told her to call back later. She called back later and reached the wrong Steve, and then put aside calling again, as she was in the middle of her own things she had to deal with.
Contrast this with Holt telling me only that they had spoken with her and left it up to her to decide. They told me – since she didn’t call back, that probably meant she didn’t want contact.
Just a few minor (cough) omissions to both of us – no harm no foul – which would be the case if I hadn’t persisted and actually found her, independent of the adoption agency. (so much for post adoption services) This is how it works; what I’ve encountered every step of the way: stonewalling and half-truths.
In answer to the last comment I removed, THIS is the kind of rotten crap that keeps me up at night, makes my chest tight. It is NOT feeling sorry for myself. It is flat out injustice that I have a right to be outraged over. If I were sorry for myself, I’d have an entirely different response than laying awake frustrated.
The things that keep me awake at night should keep anyone HUMAN up. The things that keep me awake at night are violations no living person should have to put up with. So if you think being angry about being sent to another country involuntarily to strangers who abuse you is whining, or that the possibility of being separated from a sibling shouldn’t be exhausted thoroughly, and then having your efforts to find out the truth frustrated isn’t rotten, or that people cheating and lying and stealing from you should just be swallowed silently, and that anytime an injustice is done one should just read the paper about the latest senseless random act of violence and dismiss anything less as drivel, then I can say that I am HAPPY to not be you or to have your perspective.
ETA: Positive thinking is often the flip side of denial, and denial doesn’t change anything. Righteous anger, focused on progress does. This is called positive action, and the first active step is wiping out denial.
It is only through talking about these violations and giving our narratives about what being violated does to us – and we don’t do this to ourselves – that consciousness is raised so we may set things right for those that follow. It is time to stop blaming the victim for not dealing with their trauma in the tidy manner the victimizers would like. Telling us to take it on the chin and act like everything is okay is NOT strength or positive action, but is intimidation and perpetuation of abuse. I refuse to be a party to my own subjugation.
It is only through hope and determination that I could/can persist despite everything against me. There would be no reunion with Kim Sook Ja without it.
Tomorrow get on the plane again.
Aside from getting to see my kids for the first time in two years, which was wonderful, I got to meet a living part of my history – I also ate a whole quart of blueberries this week and had authentic Mexican food. I’m very happy today!
2 thoughts on “Still on Korean time.”
That’s amazing, to finally meet her and watch your TV/documentary footage together. I don’t know if you felt overwhelming emotion or if it was more a real life matter of fact experience in bright daylight. But either way I am so glad. You weren’t alone before this–you have friends and family who love you–but now you have another person in your corner. I wish I could meet her myself!
Damn, that’s courage. And perseverance.