[Note: there is a "Part 2," or follow-up post, to this, if you are interested: "a Metaphor for the 'Price of Translation']
Okay, I have a gripe. It has been building for a while.
It's simple: translation. Post-reunion translation and assistance.
It's practically non-existent, particularly through the adopting agency. This increasingly disgusts and incenses me.
I know taking on the role of victim is not going to get me very far. Ultimately, I have to be proactive and do my part. I say this simply to clarify that I'm not looking for a pity party.
I just think it's ridiculous that an adoption agency that specializes in mediating and promoting inter-country or transnational adoption provides so little post-reunion services.
The adoption agency is a major reason as to why the adoption even took place in the first place. Would it not be logical and considerate that the agency would provide equally developed services and assistance programs for post-reunion, since the agency's adopting practices are a primary reason the adoptee was adopted out to another country?
But instead, if I were to go through the adoption agency for translation, I would have to pay $15-$25 a page to have a letter to or from either one of my Korean parents translated. If it happens to be a two-page letter, well, then I'd be paying half a benjamin. Ouch.
Or I can pay $75 an hour for translation services during a [conference] phone call. Slap.
So, basically, I have to pay in order to communicate with my own flesh and blood. And in particular, I have to pay, even though I didn't make the decision to lose my original language and culture. I have to pay, even though I had no control over the circumstances and choices that determined my fate.
I have to pay, even though the agency is in large part, the entity responsible for my current predicament.
I know all the things people would say to justify and support the agency's fees and practices. Well, their staff can't work for free, you know. This post-reunion stuff takes a lot of energy and time, and well, the demand is so high these days...
Exactly my point. Well, then, maybe the agency needs to consider this and pay to have someone on staff to provide translation and post-reunion services, so that the adoptee doesn't have to shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars just to say hello, how are you, to her own flesh and blood.
Maybe the agency needs to be a little more willing to focus not only on the front-end but on the back-end of its adoption practices. Maybe the adoption agency needs to think a little more thoroughly about the consequences and repercussions of what it's doing, and change accordingly. And of course, the consequences and repercussions go much deeper than translation services. But that's another post.
Learn the language. Sure, okay. No problem. Become fluent enough to discuss deep issues like "Why did you relinquish me?" or "Why didn't you tell my Appa?" Sure.
It's one thing to have a basic conversation but dealing with intense and unresolved emotional issues requires an understanding and fluency in the relevant language that normally comes only with a lifetime of exposure.
Or at the least, it requires living in the nation of origin for years and years. And even then, expecting to speak like a native understanding all the nuances and subtleties is something that even years of experience may not fully develop.
Yes, maybe I'm feeling a little resentful, bitter, angry at the moment. I won't allow it to consume me or steal away the good in my life. And as I stated earlier, I ultimately have to take responsibility for my part.
At the same time, this is a very real dilemma--one that affects my every day life and obviously, my ongoing relationships with my Korean parents-- that resulted from a set of circumstances and a series of decisions over thirty years ago that had nothing to do with me but affected and continues to affect everything about me.
So much is lost in translation--more than simply words and meanings. Who you are, who they are remains lost...Finding one another has certainly been a dream come true. But trying to know one another has been and will continue to be a slow, daunting, and painful process.
Only so much can be grasped when getting to know one another through translation.