Thursday, November 19, 2009

gain

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.

* * *

In summary, I am glad I did it.

In all honesty, I would not do it again.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

8 comments:

Mia_h_n said...

First of all - you, Melissa, are one of, if not the bravest and strongest people I know. You, my dear, are no weakling. If it makes any difference ;)

Secondly - all of your ever changing emotions are pretty much what I expect, so I'm not sure you're outstanding in that way. - but at least you're not alone in feeling all these feelings :)

Stay strong and don't feel obligated to post. It'll come wen you're ready.

윤선 said...

Hmm... a really thought-provoking and insightful post... thankyou for posting it.^^

Melissa said...

Mia, thank you for your kind encouragement, patience and understanding, as always...hugs :)

Melissa said...

윤선 thank you for reading it!

Melissa said...

I echo what Mia has said. You give me strength to walk the course set out for me along side my little one. She already has such strong emotions and ideas about how she wants to move forward. You give me the ability to allow her to chart her course on her journey. We had wanted to plan a trip to the orphanage next year; she does not want to go, so we won't. But she does want to meet her "China Sisters" (the girls in our adoption group)- we will be meeting one of them the day after Christmas. You would think by her reaction that she is a teenager being reunited with her grade school pal; yet she is only just starting grade school this year and has not seen these precious girls in six years.
You are paving the way for me and my little one; that is a very brave journey in which to embark!

Melissa said...

thanks, Melissa...

Wendy said...

Depending on the circumstances next year we may be able to go to China again, the issue is whether or not M's first family will be available to us. I am not sure how M will do if that stop is not on the itinerary (you know the situation so I won't get into that here). I really hope that opportunity will come available, but I also know what you mean about the support system. I know that there are two people we must have with us, I trust them and know that they have M's best interest at heart. In all reality I don't think it will be soon that their help and support would not be needed for another meeting.

Thinking of you!

sherinala said...

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.

EXACTLY. I'm a little behind on the blogging bit... idk why, but i just felt like taking a couple weeks off. Maybe that's a good thing ;)

you are not different - everyone just deals with it in their own ways... or how they know how to deal. it is still raw - and we are still healing!!!

i like what you said - you know what you lost, but not what you have gained... not right away anyway. hopefully you will see some monumental aspects that you may not have seen before, or realize your strength in all you have done thus far! hugggggs!