Living here one develops amnesia. With all the day to day challenges, I forget that I’m ethnically Korean, or that I’m an adoptee, or that I am in Birth Family Search.
About 30 miles away, as the crow flies, yet 4 hours by public transportation (due to the mountainous terrain one must travel to Seoul and then head back through valleys on the other side) is where I was found (born?).
People related to me in some way, in two, three, four degrees of separation, possibly one? pass by me every week. Somewhere very near are cousin, aunts, brothers? sisters? Many nieces and nephews.
It’s all very surreal.
But a whole world is in collusion to keep me living in another dimension, invisible, unable to reach or touch: a deaf mute ghost moving amongst them.
So close. For years. Just over the crest of that hill are people that begat me. A whole community that knew of my existence. A whole community that blotted out that memory. A whole country who squirms in discomfort at the mirror I hold up inadvertently just by my presence.
I’ve never really felt shame. Can’t relate to it. But thinking of mass erasure like this: the necessity of it, the pain of it, the whole notion of a whole community knowing its children and then having to go work their daily lives around their conspicuous absence. And I think I now understand how shameful that would be. Profoundly shameful.
It’s a shame so great it trumps reunion and reconciliation. I might as well be living in another solar system, I am that far from vanquishing anything that deep in their paralyzed hearts.