Wednesday, January 14, 2009

NOTE: The goal of this fund-raising effort was attained in early April of 2009! I have retained this information on my blog in recognition of all those who supported the fund-raising efforts of 10X900, and simply because it is a part of my story and journey....

Help a Korean Adoptee
Reunite with Her Birth Family

The Story

As some of you already know, my name is Melissa, and I am a Korean adoptee.

However, what may not know is that I have recently discovered that both my birth mother and birth father are alive, living in Korea, and waiting to meet me!

The story began thirty-three years ago in Seoul, Korea in 1975--the year I was born and subsequently relinquished for adoption.

Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long for a family, and by the age of six months I had been adopted into a loving American family.

I spent the majority of my life believing that I had been abandoned without any trace of information or record of my birth parents’ identities or histories. I spent most of my life believing that any effort to locate my birth mother, and even more so my birth father, would be utterly futile.

However, six years ago, with the unexpected but loving provocation by a friend, I initiated a search for my birth mother through my two agencies—understanding that, realistically and statistically, I should hold no expectation to think that my birth mother could be found.

What I did possess, however, was all the hope and imagination that my heart could muster, or at least enough to cultivate the expectation that, every once in a while, the impossible becomes possible.

And indeed, I am experiencing this first hand!

As dumbfounding and surreal as it still seems, I am so astounded and grateful to be able to say that BOTH my birth mother and birth father have been found! They are alive and waiting in Korea to meet me! Unbelievable!

This has been the most emotionally exhilarating as well as perplexing journey of my life! And in some ways it is only beginning. How I have longed for the day to come that I would be able to meet my birth mother face to face, to be able to touch her hand, hear her laugh, know her tears, see her smile.

And now, I am completely overwhelmed with disbelief and wonder that I have the rare and phenomenal opportunity not only to reunite with my birth mother but also with my birth father!

The Need

As you can imagine, this is an astronomical and thrilling feat emotionally and spiritually.

As you can also imagine, it is an astronomical and thrilling financial undertaking as well.

After researching our options and seeking advice and feedback, we believe that the best option for safely and successfully reuniting with my birth parents/family will be to go through my adoption agencies, Dillon International and Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS) on a “Birthland Tour.”

Going through the agencies will provide the guidance, knowledge, experience, support and services of the staff and social workers—who have been doing this for years—that such a life-changing and delicate event requires.

Although this is such a joyous and long-awaited for occasion, I’m sure you can imagine that it is also a complex and fragile occasion—not to be dealt with lightly or carelessly—due to not only the emotional complexities but also to the cultural differences and complexities. The ability to have experienced social workers and staff available to help mediate is crucial to establishing a successful and long-term reunion.

Note: (For more details about my adoption story, you can read the posts under "a journal: the road to meeting my birth parents.")

The Concept

I've included information regarding the expenses for the trip to Korea in the post titled " the Expenses." As you will realize, this trip is going to require a large sum of funds. However, we all know that with many, a large task can magically become small.

Here’s the concept: ultimately, if we can find 900 people willing to contribute $10 each, then we’ll be able to raise enough money to cover ALL of the expenses for both my husband, Mike, and me to travel to Korea to reunite with my birth parents/family! When you think of it that way, it seems absolutely possible!

I realize that this is no small request. I am humbled even to have to ask, and yet I am compelled to do so. I know that trying to find 900 people willing to give $10 is asking a lot. There are so many causes and needs in our world today. And in light of those causes and needs, my situation may seem minuscule and trite. I understand this.

And yet, also in light of all the causes and needs out there, this is one that has a happy ending. This is one in which hope can become reality. This is one in which all of the pain and suffering, all of the tears and longing have found their purpose.

The Happy Ending

It is not every day that a story like this unfolds. It is not every day that we get to witness the impossible becoming possible.

It is not every day that we can be a part of a happy ending.

With all the darkness and hurt that we witness, this is a story that can at least for a moment, remind us all that darkness and hurt can be overcome and transformed into something meaningful, beautiful, something inspirational.

Even if you are not able to give $10, every little bit helps. And if you are not able to help financially, then please help us with your thoughts and prayers. Every bit counts!

Again, for any questions about the total cost, view the summary of the expenses. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me through my blog (if you click on my profile in the blog, it has a link to my email address). Also, for further details regarding my story, read the posts under "a journal: the road to meeting my birth parents."

Ultimately, thank you for even taking the time and being willing to read this! My deep appreciation and thanks!


Unknown said...

Hi! I randomly found your youtube vids this morning. Watching it and reading your blog reminds me of the emotional and mental state that I was in when I searched and met my birth family in Korea for the first time - my heart goes out to you. I find your section "Happy Ending" somewhat ironic since in so many ways it's really a beginning. Of what? You're only just finding out. For me, I had never thought about post-reunion life. It's definitely been an experience in itself! One of the best things that I found out of this whole thing is the adoptee community. It's been great meeting and talking to other KADs who have been through it. In that spirit, please feel free to contact me if you ever need/want to. :) Just let me know. Whatever happens, I hope that you have a wonderful, solid, support system, and wish you the best on your journey!

Mila said...

Thanks for the tip, kim.meejoo.

Yes, I actually realize this is just the beginning...if you read more of my posts, I acknowledge and ponder this fact repeatedly. After seven years of searching, and really a lifetime of not knowing, I have had plenty of time to ponder post-reunion life, and all the possible scenarios from wonderful to horrific, and have read different books and accounts. I realize I have opened a Pandora's Box, but I did so willingly and with full knowledge. I would rather know than not know.

I am very much in touch with the realities of the situation. Often, too much so to the point where I do not enjoy the hope and good that surfaces every once in a while.

I guess by the "happy ending" I mean a happy ending to the long and difficult search process. Finding my birth parents was ultimately the goal of the search. And that goal has been met, and therefore that makes me happy.

However, I actually am very aware of the long road ahead. I am not naive to the complexities and difficulties that will arise (and have already arisen) in this new journey.

I'm just trying to take things one step at a time, and in particular, to enjoy each good moment--so that when things get hard I will be able to look back and remember the good.

The adoption experience is never lacking in hardship and tragedy, tears and turmoil. So whenever something positive, happy, good, hopeful unfolds, I like to try to cling to it and make it last...and this is definitely a bright spot in the dark shadow that can at times be my adoption experience...

There are other adoptees with whom I am corresponding, but I always appreciate broadening that network. So, thank you for your initiative to contact me.