Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Ad for a birth mother...?
The following is a translation of the "search ad" (as translated by one of the agency directors helping me--i have not edited it for sake of authenticity) currently posted on the web by Eastern Social Welfare Society (the Korean adoption agency that initially handled my adoption back in 1975).
It is hoped that if by some infinitesimally small chance, my birth mother were to come across this listing, she might recognize the information advertised and subsequently, contact the agency. And then, Voila!--a renunion takes place.
If only the situation could be that simple and magical. The fairy tale ending.
Past Name: Yoon, Mi Ra
Current Name: Melissa Chatham [Konomos]
DOB: June 5, 1975 (Correct)
Gender: Female Placed Country : USA
Birth area: Anyang, Gyeonggi-do
Admission date of ESWS: June 10, 1975
Birth mother Name: Jeon * Soon
The birth mother graduated from night time middle and high school while working for General Management Department as a clerk in the elementary school as an office assistant. She came to know the birth father as they lived in the same town of Shieungdong 1 dong and Shieungdong 2 dong. They dated from senior high school. Their both parents were opposed to their dating but they decided to live together and did it. The birth mother’s family continued to oppose to their living together and they returned to each of their home and eventually separated. The birth mother was pregnant and gave birth to her baby but she could not raise her baby as an unwed woman. The birth father could not raise the baby, either. So the baby was placed for adoption.
I am not so naive as to think her eyes will ever stumble upon these words. All I can do is grapple for the unreal, while still grasping the real.
With each day, each month, each year that passes void of the longed for contact, the more that reality encroaches upon the wild dreaming of my imagination.
This constant tension between what is reality and what is hope. What is fact and what is fantasy.
There are times during which I can almost imagine making contact with her. She feels so very close. She is within reach. I can feel the warmth of her breath lingering in the air. I can hear the rustling of her clothing, the shuffling of her feet. The power of intense anticipation seems almost enough to conjure the elements to make her crystallize before my eyes.
And then, there are the times during which contact with her cruelly disintegrates, only to evaporate as a mirage.
Six years ago, when I first initiated a search through Eastern, one of the social workers informed me that they had compiled a list of ten women who fit my birth mother's approximate age and name. The social worker stated that they were in the process of contacting these women by telegram.
It was as though I could feel the tips of my birth mother's fingers brush passed my own.
I tried to remain level-headed. Realistic.
But the hope of imagination cannot be tamed. It runs wildly at even the smallest possibility of realization. It thinks not of consequences or disappointments. It ignores any whispers of the impossible. It turns its ears only to that of the deep secret dreams and desires of the heart, and echoes them powerfully as though they have already come to be.
I waited with excruciating patience and longing. I could do nothing but believe that my birth mother was among those ten women. Certainly, the search would not arrive at this point only to bear fruitless hope.
Months passed and still I heard no report. No updates.
Finally, I inquired. The social worker stated that she was not certain of the outcome yet.
So, I waited.
Several months later, Eastern informed me that their attempts at contact had been without success.
I have written of this account previously. And here I am writing of it again.
I am redundant. Repetitive. An old, broken record--we know what comes of old broken records...
Yet, perhaps this is what it takes for someone like me.
At times, I feel as though I am not real. My life and all of this seems unreal. Was I really born in Korea? Did my birth mother truly exist? And hence, do I really exist? Am I here, indeed, living and breathing? Are these my words? Are these my emotions? Is this my voice?
Is that photo of a month-old infant me? I look at photos of my infancy as an orphan, and it seems as another lifetime to me. That baby girl is not me. She is someone else.
Maybe the repetition, the redundancy is a way to reinforce these unreal realities to me.
If I tell the story enough times, if I process the events enough times, perhaps this is a way to undo the sense of feeling lost, adrift, unanchored as I cast myself out into the endless oceans of irresolution and indefinite doubt.
One may ask, why cast yourself into such an ocean?
The shore holds no answers for me. It is only out in the wild, with its uncertainty and risk, that I will have the chance to find her. And if not her, then it is my hope that still yet something or someone unexpected awaits my discovery.
For all the hurt and pain that I express, there is just as much hope and inspiration. I would rather face my fears of disappointment and discomfort than to conform timidly and reluctantly to the false comforts of the familiar and ordinary.
I don't mind being a broken record, as long as what is broken finds meaning. I think that I have found that it is time to take that broken record and hurl it out into the open, to shatter into a million pieces that it will make its way throughout the world and find that breaking is the only way to truly becoming whole.