I have not really written much yet about my second trip to Korea back in September.
I realize that I have been somewhat strangely silent about it.
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In summary, I am glad I did it.
In all honesty, I would not do it again.
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By this I primarily mean that I would not travel to Korea again without my husband, and I would not do things in the same way that I did the second trip.
It was just so much all at once without any of my normal supports.
I don’t know how other adoptees have done it. I feel like a weakling in comparison. I feel as though I am a different breed—one that would not necessarily survive according to the theory of “survival of the fittest,” if it did not allow for exceptions.
I am definitely an exception.
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During the second trip to Korea, I learned some hard truths about each of my biological parents, and consequently, I had to face some not so pleasant truths about myself.
Yet, there were those moments that made me beam. When I got to meet my Uncle—my Korean mother’s younger brother—and his children for the first time, I could not stop smiling. My heart swelled with hope and joy. As we all gathered on the floor around the table for dinner, I felt as though I had found a home once lost but finally retrieved.
But as always, at least for me, it is a strange pendulum of gratitude and grief on which I swing. Each moment filled with joy seems not to pass without an equal amount of angst.
As I sat at the table observing this strange and dreamlike moment, my heart filled with comfort, while I equally felt an aching nostalgia for a life and a people I had never known. I felt envious of them. I felt pained that I would never know what might have been.
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Rather, I must simply embrace what grace I now have to strive for something new and hopeful, albeit broken and uneven.
To quote Carl Sandburg, “One knows what one has lost, but not what one might gain.”
Certain things have diminished beyond recovery. Some things cannot help but remain irrevocably lost.
We cannot gain what never existed.
Yet I can gain those who have emerged, only that I may reach to grasp them and never again let the distance grow—so dark, so wide.