Archive for the ‘transracial adoptee life’ Category

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ibyangThe image above shows Korean words written on the back of a photo. It’s a black and white photo of a Korean girl/me holding  a piece of paper with an identification number K-6714 written on it like a prisoner.

The Korean girl K-6714 had written it in her last days while she was being emptied of her words and filled with foreign words.

Every word of her mother tongue was  extirpated from her until it became a foreign language and the foreign words become her mother tongue.

My mother tongue is French. I’m an old-stock Quebecker who was born in her body with her memories.  I remember my life as her, a Korean girl, my real self. I remember losing  my words. I remember some time having no  language at all which made me unable to think. And I remember having written something on the back of that black and white photo but I feel like I had written it in French.

When I think of the Korean girl, I feel like my body is her coffin.

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Her family was removed from her
Her country was removed from her
Because she didn’t matter.

She was exported to a foreign land
She was sold to a new family she didn’t look like at all
Because she didn’t matter.

Her birth date was removed from her
Her name was removed from her
Her manners were removed from her
Her words were removed from her
Her ways of thinking were removed from her
Because she didn’t matter.

She was given a new birth date that has nothing to do with her birth
She was given a new name that didn’t match her face
She was taught new manners as being the right manners
She was forcefully penetrated with new words to become her new mother tongue and new ways of thinking
Because she didn’t matter.

She was killed when I was created
She is not because I am
I am not me I’m her.
Don’t tell me I matter when she didn’t

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Today on the Facebook page, Is Adoption Trauma?  I read a quote by B.J. Lifton that starts with, “An adopted teenager once told me, “I feel there are two teenage me’s. The me that was born but didn’t live. And the me who was not born, but lived the life I have today.” Without understanding she was expressing the split in the self that so many adoptees make in order to survive….”

It brought me tears as I recalled my own life as an adoptee….

The following  are excerpts from my memoir/diary that I wrote about 25 years ago when I was in my 20s. This is actually a third version of my memoir/diary. I had written the first version during my teen years but destroyed it by fear someone would read it; I also destroyed the second version while re-writing this version to be read by my doctor who had encouraged me to put my life on a paper.  It’s in French, so I translated it below with comments in italic if needed.

les3moi002“Since I left Korea, there are 2 other persons in me: the 3 persons live always together but people only see/saw one person. There is me, the real Kim Myung-Sook who lived in Korea. When she came, she was not the one my mother wanted. My mother wanted a living doll, a baby to cuddle. That’s why, for my mother, there’s a 2nd Kim like the one my mother wanted.  The real me, the one who was born in Korea, she knows what real life is, she knows life is sad and she sometimes feel she’s too old; she lives in the real [life] while hating the real et she leaves the place to the second Kim.
The second Kim is the one everyone knows [of me]. She was a baby when she came, she became older with  moving house [from Maine, USA to Quebec, Canada], she became older but she’s of her real age. [I meant that everyone paid attention to me and treated me as if I was a baby. But less than six months later I was seen as a girl of my age because I had grown up and nobody cared about me], she’s lucky to have all the material comfort, lucky to be adopted. She’s a child who doesn’t suffer. She’s the one who hides the truth when the 1st wants to show up. This one, she evolves normally as expected by everyone.
The 3rd is the one that was invented by the  1st for the nights to fall asleep, only to pretend. This one is not really a person, it’s only like a TV character. At the beginning when I lived in Maine, this 3rd was sleeping in Korea and she was dreaming  everything the 2nd lived and nobody was able to wake her up. [I meant that I pretended to be asleep in Korea and that everything was only a dream or a nightmare] When I was at Collège Français [a primary school], I changed the scenario, I pretended to be the daugther of an orphanage director. It was a little what I wished when I lived at St. Paul, to have parents but to stay there.
Finally the 3rd didn’t really exist since it was the 1st who was pretending to live as another person and this person was exactly the 1st who shouldn’t have been, as she is, if she had live like…
I can not explain everything!
Anyway, if I hadn’t pretend to live the life of the 3rd, I would never have succeeded with perfection to be the 2nd everyone knew and I would have ended up being crazy.”

Today I would say all this differently: adoption killed the Korean in me and adoption created the Quebecker in me.

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Her given name is Myung-Sook. Her surname is Kim.

This body I call mine belongs to her.
I grew stronger while she became weaker.
I began to talk when she began to lose her talk.
I was given a name when she lost her name.
I was born when she was buried.

I am because she is.
I live with her memories in her body.
I remember her past life in Korea when I didn’t exist yet.
She was proud of being a Korean.
She thought she was pretty with her beautiful big eyes.
She loved her name and was proud of it.

She’s not because I am.
Her life began to end when I learned to say and write my name.
My name is Kim Goudreau. I’m a Quebecoise de souche (“old stock Quebecker”).
I’m ashamed of Korea and being a Korean.
I wish I was entirely White.
I hate my ugly slanted eyes and my flat nose that make me a foreigner here.
I loathe my middle name, Myung-Sook. It sounds too Chinese and it’s irritating to my ears, just like fingernails being scratched on a blackboard.

Myung-Sook and I are totally different but we were one at the beginning of my life/at the end of her life.
This hand I call my hand wrote her name everywhere while she was dying.

She’s buried deep within me.
She’s my departed true self.
I am not me, I am her.

Every cell of my body yearns for her.
I’m homesick with grief when she yearns for her home country.
I’m wistful when she yearns for her lost language.
I’m nostalgic when she yearns her lost name.
I want to die when she yearns for her departed true self.
I want to die so that I can be reborn as her, my true self.

*hiraeth: a homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed; a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, or an earnest desire for the past.

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