Are You My Mother?
Something changes when you grow up: you start forming your own opinions. And those opinions change as you become more exposed to the world and experience a life beyond the one your parents presented to you.
Many of us adoptees had parents who were unsympathetic to the plight of our birth mothers. While they may not have denigrated the person who gave birth to us, many chose to elevate their own image in our eyes by placing our mother’s image in frame of poor life choices, a frame of western christian moralistic black and white values. So our mothers were either dead or selfish strumpets with poor coping skills. What they failed to tell us about were the lack of options available in Korea, and as further investigation reveals, many of these women were targeted and coerced by Holt to relinquish their children in the name of saving souls and to feed a market which they had created. A market which not only exploited the vulnerability of women in temporary distress, but which also took lost children, not even bothering to look for their parents, and called them orphans. A market which falsified the ages and identities of hundreds of thousands of children to make them more adoptable. The adoption agenices created missing and exploited children, selling them abroad as orphans – even though they had families that loved them.
So now we are all grown up. Some of us have lived through temporary distress. Some of us have experienced the vulnerability of our pregnancies. Some of us have felt the sting of making bad choices based on a lack of options. How can we vilify these women now? How can we have anything but sympathy for the pain they must have felt, the pain they still feel?
It took forty years to cast aside my callous armor and see my mother as a person in her own right, and not just as the bad person who rejected me. I must search for her before it is too late. And tell her:
I see you
Below are some registries to aid in the search.
(i had some trouble with their form and navigation – I emailed them and asked them to register me)
All in Korean so impossible for me to maneuver – but I think a lot of Korean parents in search come here. Jane Jeong Trenka has been translating some of these recently, as a public service.
Has a Korean Families Searching Database, and supposedly an adoptee registry. But I’m not seeing how it works.
All of the above bother me in their useability, so I created my own. The thinking was it could be like Classmates.com, only Holt Adoptees. It has a before/after photo component to it, and I’m asking everyone that if they put in any search information on themselves, that they put it through a machine translation so Korean parents can read it. By making it fun for us adoptees (the then and now photo thing) and because people don’t necessarily have to be in search to participate, I’m hoping we will get a bigger population amassed than on the search registries. By the time a large body is assembled, it will be easy to market this in Korea. I figure the more exposure we get, the better, and one more registry can’t hurt our odds.