gallery Dear Adoption, I’ve Grown to Love You / Part 2 of 3

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August 17, 1992
Dear Adoption, today I turned fifteen and being a teenager is weird. I’m the Vice President of the Asian American Club and have lots of Asian friends but none who are adopted. My parents tried to send me to a sleep away Korean Camp in the woods. We had pen pals before we arrived and mine said she did her tattoo by herself: the word Korea with one letter for each finger. We didn’t want to sit in a circle and talk about our feelings so we called her boyfriend from a pay phone and tried to get him to pick us up. He is 22! He wouldn’t come get us so she said we should go find some tea. What she meant was marijuana and I got scared. I called my parents and got to go home and wake up in my safe, sunny bedroom and my grandmother made me breakfast. I don’t like talking about you in therapy either because what’s the point? You’re not important.

August 17, 1997
Dear Adoption, I’m twenty. Someone asks what time I was born but I don’t know. I have to explain why my parents are white because I don’t live in my small town anymore where everyone knows each other. Rutgers is a big school and I don’t want to join the Asian group. They ask why I don’t speak Korean and talk about getting their hair cut by Asian people and getting plastic surgery. Tonight we had a party and my roommate bought Boone’s wine coolers, including my favorite one: Fuzzy Navel. She’s Taiwanese and got them with her older sister’s ID because the guy at the store thinks all Asian girls look the same. K, the guy I like, came to the party but he brought his white girlfriend. When I was buzzed she asked what it was like to be adopted. I still don’t like this question. I thought she was making fun of me so I walked away.

August 17, 2003
Dear Adoption, how am I twenty-six already? I cried today more than I ever have. K and I are married and he’s in school so I told him to save money and not do anything for my birthday this year. I guess it was that kind of girly request that you don’t really mean because when he really did nothing I started sobbing. I don’t know where it came from but I felt totally worthless. The cat climbed into my lap, snuggled in and tried purring comfortingly but I said my birth mother must’ve thrown me away like garbage. I don’t know why you’re bothering me so much this year. I never thought you were anything before. You were a fleeting thought that always went away quickly.

Part 1 / Part 3

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.

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