Dear Adoption, I Was A Country Once
My body has been a continent,
Split into two hemispheres
The East and the West.
I have two names and I have two lives,
Split into America
but I am
I have two names but neither of them are mine.
Two cultures I’ve tried to claim
but I have never been able to hold
and grasp them.
They’re fleeting, their hearts beat upon the edges of the circumference
of the axis,
it tilts and shifts and rotates,
It negates its face –
I’m left with ghost memories of
women I could have been, I would have been, I should have been,
if I hadn’t been given up for adoption.
The little girl in me, with dark hair and a shiny blue barrette,
cries inside for the past I lost,
the language I cannot speak,
the heritage which was taken from me,
The family I have not been able to know.
I cry ‘saranghaeyo’ (I love you) into my omma’s (mother’s) arms,
wet from tears of misplacement.
My birth family cries with regret,
the guilt of thirty seven years
cradles and rocks them to sleep..
It was pure superstition;
“You were born as twins… bad luck…”
(I mourn the life I would have had the hardest.)
Two selves, split into uneven parts, still trying to put them together myself.
For the me who I can’t be, for the me I want to be, for the me I was,
for the me that couldn’t be, all these people somehow haunt me.
I mourn my loss, I mourn my culture, I mourn my name, I mourn myself.
There is this undeniable need
and pull to Korea–
yet release from Korea.
It’s almost too much to express-
My heart can’t
The woman I could have been
seems to always haunt
the woman I am now.
And I’m not sure how to let her go
or let her know
that she ended up okay.
I still cry for her and she still cries for me
Maybe it will always be this way,
within my bones
this feeling of being
Maybe it’s not the beginning
Which defines us
But the creation of our place
I’ve finally learned
That when it comes to
We create our own,
We shift, we grow,
We evolve into who we want to be.
And maybe it’s more than just where we started from,
Maybe it’s more of who we can be and who we are meant to be
Even when it seems like we are torn and split
Into two different rifts,
Maybe its our choice to embrace
What we have always felt we had missed.