Dear Adoption, I’ve Grown to Love You
August 17, 1982
Dear Adoption, hi, today I’m five. I had a birthday party and strawberry cake. I got presents. Cousin D came over and Mommy and Daddy said he’s adopted too. But he looks like Aunt D and Uncle D and he didn’t come from Korea so he can’t be. I said “adoption, adoption, I don’t want to hear it anymore”. Go away.
August 17, 1986
Dear Adoption, I’m nine now. Mom and Dad said my birth mother gave me away because she loved me but I still don’t want to think about you and I don’t want to go to Korean Culture Camp over the summer anymore. This year we did the fan dance AGAIN. I like making mandu but the teacher thought it was weird when I washed my hands after I cracked open an egg even though that’s what Mom tells me to do so L got to be in the picture for the newspaper instead so I think she’s prettier than me and it isn’t fair.
August 17, 1989
Dear Adoption, I had a sleepover party for turning twelve. A asked what it felt like to be adopted. I asked what it’s like not to be because I don’t know anything else. I don’t think I’m any different but when we go to Pennsylvania to visit Nanny and Poppa the Amish girls stare at me. I don’t know why because they’re the ones wearing bonnets and riding in horse and buggies. On my birthdays we make Korean food and watch the movie of when I arrived at the airport. Mom is smiling so much when they hand me to her. But sometimes the old projector heats up, burning the film and I start crying as the faces burn away before our eyes. I’m afraid it will be lost forever, and I’m afraid of a lot of other things too. I’m afraid when nighttime comes and always think I’m gonna get kidnapped by ghosts, aliens, pirates, Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, Jesus. I’m afraid when we drive past woods where there might be missing children and dead bodies. I’m afraid when I’m hungry even though we always have food.
Jen Kim is a Korean Adoptee, Event Planner and Designer, and on the Board of Directors of Also-Known-As, Inc., a New York City-based organization for international adoptees. Her Vlog is called Jen Kim KAD and she recently won first prize in the Council of Korean Americans and Korean American Story ROAR Story Slam. “Find Me” can be found here. See more of Jen’s work at JenKimCreative.com.